Directed by: Jeff Tomsic | 100 minutes | comedy | Actors: Ed Helms, Lil Rel Howery, JOn Hamm, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Hannibal Buress, Nora Dunn, Steve Berg, Jeremy Renner, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones, Indiana Sifuentes, Trayce Malachi, Jock McKissic, Thomas Middleditch
As boys they played tag in the schoolyard. As middle-aged men, they still do. Only no longer all year round (only in May), and no longer in the schoolyard. As the men have moved across the country over time, there is a lot of planning and strategy involved in their game. Disguises, lies and deceit are involved. And don’t think that the men don’t take the game seriously, because as soon as May arrives, all brakes are released.
In the comedy ‘Tag’ we witness a special month of May, as group member Jerry has announced that this is his last year as a player. Even more special is that Jerry has never been tapped in all these years and that this is the last chance to break his undefeated status. Which is nice: Jerry is getting married in May and the whole club is invited. And so friends Reggie, Bob, Hoagie and Chilli leave for Spokane (Washington) to tag Jerry, along with a journalist and Hoagy’s avid wife Anna.
The first thing you notice in ‘Tag’ is the cast. This lightweight comedy features actors of above-average heaviness, including John Hamm, Jeremy Renner and Ed Helms. Those heavyweights are also cast in exactly the right role. With Hamm as an elegant macho, Renner as an ageless charmer, Ed Helms as a good citizen and Jake Johnson as an adolescent dopehead.
The acting somewhat makes up for what the film lacks. The story is as simple as can be: four men who want to tap someone, for which everything has to give way. There are some sidelines, but they are hardly relevant. The humor is also not of the highest quality. It’s the kind of humor you expect from a movie about middle-aged men playing tag. Often faint, often oblique, often clumsy.
What’s nice is how ‘Tag’ applies conventions from action movies and thrillers to something as dull as tag. Complete with slow motion and exciting music. Also nice are the credits, with images of the real club on which the film is based and also a very corny (and original) dessert. It’s just enough to save the day, although you have to be in the right mood for this.