- Title: Tag
- Year: 2018
- Country: USA
- Director: Jeff Tomsic (directorial debut)
- Written by: Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen
- Genre: Comedy
- Starring: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, John Hamm, Jeremy Renner
- Release (SA): 29 June 2018
- Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
- My rating: 6/10
Based on a true story, written by Russell Adams, in which ten men in their forties continued a game of tag in which someone is “It” until he tags someone else which they’d started more than two decades before when they were classmates at Spokane, Washington, prep school. In the original the chosen month is February. Their game evolved into a nationwide chase. They were offered movie rights for their story after it appeared in the Wall Street Journal, and here we have it. Before the credits roll, a photograph is displayed, showing the real group of ten men that inspired the film, and who continue to play their game of Tag.
The movie directed by Jeff Tomsic, reduces it to five friends, Hogan “Hoagie” Malloy (Ed Helms), Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm), Randy “Chilli” Cilliano (Jake Johnson), Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress) and Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner) have been playing tag every May for thirty years. Jerry has avoided being tagged in all this time. He’s now getting married and it’s their last opportunity to tag him.
Rebecca Crosby (Annabelle Wallis), a Wall Street Journal reporter doing a piece on Bob, and Hoagie’s wife, Anna (Isla Fisher), both join them. Jerry’s fiancée, Susan Rollins (Leslie Bib), is also part of the action, as is an old flame, Cheryl Deakins (Rashida Jones).
It is non-demanding fun, as the whole thing becomes ridiculous with Jerry’s attempts to avoid being “it”. At one point during the filming Jeremy Renner fractured his right elbow and left wrist after falling 20 feet while performing a stunt. CGI was used post-production to remove his casts.
The lesson in the movie is that if one avoids being “it” for long enough one will become isolated. However, the movie has way too much so-called “adult-content”, or silly smut, for it to be a useful lesson for younger children. Oh, and the repeated one of not stopping play because you grow old, but growing old because you stop play.
There are a few hilarious lines, but it is not one of those movies where your belly will ache from laughing. It is, however, good fun with a little moment of pathos at the end as we all reflect on the joys of friendship. One is also inclined to be a bit empathetic because of the truly unique plot line. Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.
6/10 makes it watchable, but don’t break other social engagements to go. Suitable as a date night movie if you both enjoy zany and sometimes slapstick comedy.