Review: Friendship and bromance highlight in good-natured 'Tag'

June 18, 2018

 

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

In “Tag” a group of thirty somethings (Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnston and Hannibal Buress) take part in a 35-year-old tradition, in which for one month every year, they play the classic playground game. Based on the true Wall Street Journal article, "Tag" also shows the extreme lengths this clan will go to avoid being “it” and to tag their opponent. Of course, some of the hijinks get a bit exaggerated, as the usually harmless game, suddenly becomes a blood sport. These guys dress in old-lady drag, apply for jobs they don’t need, and break into homes to get the drop on someone. To them, playing the game is a token of their friendship, keeping their spirits and appreciation for each other alive. “We don’t stop playing because we get older. We get older because we stop playing.” That’s a motto to live by.

 

But one person in their squad has managed to elude being tagged since the games inauguration, that’d be Jerry (a hilarious Jeremy Renner) who sneaks around like a silent assassin and comes up with inventive, albeit, wacky scenarios to avoid being slugged. And with this supposedly being his last year in the game, the boys are pulling out all the stops.

 

Directed by Jeff Tomsic, “Tag” manages to pack an emotional resonance, without tethering much into “bro” territory. There are some funny performances, and even funnier set pieces (one involving the crew debating about waterboarding a gym employee is a highlight). At times, the film seems like it’s in one big competition with itself (like four or five movies vying for dominance). That, and Isla Fisher screaming her lines doesn’t help either. Some might be turned off by the “boys will be boys” mentality, but for all its screwball silliness “Tag” aims for the big laughs and succeeds.

 

Grade: B

 

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