Why do these guys feel the need to touch each other?!?
Hogan “Hoagie” Malloy (Ed Helms), Bob Callahan (John Hamm), Randy “Chilli” Cilliano (Jake Johnson), Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress), and Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner) have been playing tag since they were nine years old. No matter how old they get, no matter where their lives take them, and no matter how many times they’ve played it, they never stop and always continue on with the tradition. Why? Well, not just because it’s fun, but because Jerry has yet to have ever been tagged, no matter how hard each and everyone of the guys try to nab him. It just doesn’t happen. Case closed. And now with Jerry’s wedding looming on the horizon, the guys all get together again to see if they can tag Jerry and possibly end this foolishness once and for all. Problem is, Jerry is at the top of his game and doesn’t care if he has a wedding or not, he will not be tagged.
Tag is a silly idea that also happens to be based on a true story. Yep. It’s weird and unusual, but the Wall Street Journal‘s original story is true and of course, there had to be a movie made of it, right? Not a documentary, either, but a full-length, feature-flick, with all sorts of bright and colorful names attached to it, right?
Well, not really.
Of course, it doesn’t matter the answer because Tag is a real movie, it’s here, and it’s not going to let you forget about its existence, but it almost feels like it was an interestingly wacky idea, brought to us in the most bland way imaginable. There’s a bunch of guys who tag one another, makes jokes at the other’s expense, eventually get into some hi-jinx, smoke pot, drink, have sex, and most importantly, lose their cool. Sure, there’s the inevitable downtrodden conversation about where all of their lives have gone since they started playing tag and why they can’t seem to give it up, no matter how many wrinkles are showing, but really, they don’t matter.
A movie like Tag only cares about how loud it is, how funny it is, and how crazy it is. Unfortunately, it’s very much of the former and the later; the middle-element, it is not. Well, not really.
See, the issue with a movie like Tag is that it’s already in this weird spot of taking something that can be funny just by looking at it on a piece of paper, and making sure that it actually seems funny the way it plays out on the screen. Director Jeff Tomsic seems to know and understand why making something like a game of tag between a bunch of older-guys could be funny, but he doesn’t know why. Or better yet, he doesn’t know what to do with that humor.
Rather than maybe having something interesting to say about these dudes, their dynamics, and why they still play this game, mostly, we are just treated to a bunch of older-gentleman, running around, making fools of themselves, shouting a whole lot, and oh yeah, all while playing tag. While this may sound like a true bundle of fun, I can assure you that it isn’t and by the time waterboarding gets brought up as a joke, yeah, it’s a short step downhill. The only real reason why Tag isn’t a total bomb, however, is because it’s ensemble is so clearly capable of making this goofy material work, they almost make you wish the material was better.
Consensus: Even with everyone on-board being so charming and talented, Tag mostly fails at being a subversive and wacky buddy-comedy, and doesn’t necessarily know what to say about its all-too-real and weird premise in the first place.
4 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Warner Bros. Pictures