Directed by: Jeff Tomsic
Starring: Jeremy Renner, John Hamm, Jake Johnson, Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher
The true story of a group of friends who, for one month every year, continue playing the same game of tag they started when they were kids. But this year, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) who has never been tagged, plans to retire from the game once he’s married and this is the last chance for his friends to get him.
‘Tag’ is a lot of fun and is laugh out loud funny. The action sequences of various characters trying to tag Jerry, and other participants in the game, are all well-shot and innovative. When Jerry is the one being ambushed, everything slows down as he takes in what’s happening, then there’s a voiceover from him as he commentates on what his friends are doing and how he’s going to beat them. Everything works so well together in those sequences.
The cast are all brilliant. They all have great chemistry and you really buy into them being childhood friends, even though they are all at different stages of their lives. Hoagie (Ed Helms) is married to super competitive Anna (Isla Fisher) who must make do with helping the guys out as the rules the friends made up when they were kids state that girls are not allowed to play. Bob (Jon Hamm) is a high-flying businessman, Chilli (Jake Johnson) is divorced and almost constantly high and Sable (Hannibal Buress) is in therapy. It’s clear that this game of tag has kept them in touch over all these years as no one wants to be the person tagged by June 1st.
Some of the supporting female cast do get short-changed. Rashida Jones has little to do when she shows up mid-way through, and Annabelle Wallis’s journalist is mainly there as a stand-in for the audience, asking the right questions at the right time to help move some of the more character-driven stuff along. Ed Helms does play a very Ed Helms-esque character but it’s always great to see Jon Hamm show off his comedy skills and it’s a pleasant surprise to see how funny Jeremy Renner can be. As an actor that’s typically seen in more serious roles, it was fun to see his droll sense of humour, and that almost cackle-like laugh, on screen.
‘Tag’ is a comedic action film and it does a fine job of balancing those two aspects. There are a few jokes that edge very close to being in bad taste, it’s almost like watching a car crash happen in slow motion as other characters know that what a character is saying is not good but there’s little they can do to stop it. At least the film seems to be aware of the barriers it’s pushing, and the rest of the jokes are funny and unoffensive.
The story does lag a bit in the middle but the chemistry and jokes between these characters see you through till the next big game of tag. The thing that’s surprising about ‘Tag’ is how heartfelt it is. In the end, this film pulls you into these guys friendship and that makes this entertaining film unexpectedly sweet.