Starring: Jeremy Renner Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis
Director: Jeff Tomsic
Released: 5 Nov. 2018
Run Time: 96 minutes
A group of middle aged men are the inspiration for this fun comedy, in which five friends who have known each other since their school days continue to play a game of tag that they have been playing since they were kids.
Every month of May the group take time out of their lives to play tag. Across the country. And the USA is a big country. This game of tag includes planes, trains and automobiles. After 30 years of playing the game they have been forced to find more ingenious ways of tagging each other, including turning up unannounced in order to maintain the element of surprise or otherwise heavily disguised.
The film is based on a Wall Street Journal article called It Takes Caution, Planning To Avoid Being 'It' which was written by real life reporter Russell Adams - here replaced by a fictional reporter Rebecca Crosby (Annabelle Wallis).
Crosby is doing a write up on Bob Callahan (Hamm) but the interview is interrupted by Hoagie (Ed Helms). Hoagie is looking to tag Bob and has got access to his office building by taking a job as a cleaner. They chase each other around the office before Hoagie eventually tags Bob.
The pair then drive across the country to try to tag Chilli (Jake Johnson) and Sable (Hannibal Buress). Once they’re all tagged they discuss a new plan that will allow them to finally tag Jerry (Renner) who has never been tagged. Ever. Jerry is planning to retire from the game untagged leaving the game with a flawless record. But the four guys are not about to allow this to happen, even if it means possibly ruining Jerry’s wedding.
TAG is directed by Jeff Tomsic and he does a good job. The film moves along at a good pace, as you’d expect for what is essentially a chase/road movie, and the action is closely centred on the five main characters, with great comic support from Isla Fisher. The action/chase scenes are exciting and the film in general, without being a classic, will easily hold your attention from start to finish.
The casting is good, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner are probably the biggest stars and they perform well, Hamm against type as an arrogant and pretty daft guy, rather than his normal handsome, charming guy roles whereas Renner uses his special skills learnt from the Bourne films and Avengers films to great effect as the uber-tag player who has Robert Downey Jr style Sherlock skills of evasion.
Isla Fisher is fun and super/crazy aggressive as Hoagie’s wife who is along for the ride and really wants him to win, despite the “no girls allowed” rule she gets more involved than perhaps she should. Possibly this will affect the audience for this film as girls/women may feel somewhat excluded from this ‘lads’ comedy.
The guys don’t seem to have spent a lot of time together outside of the game over the years, but at least playing the game does give them opportunities to meet up. But TAG examines the idea of maintaining friendships over many years and this is a positive message, but it’s doesn’t really go into a lot of detail, preferring to stick to the comedy aspects of the film. TAG is a funny, fun and silly comedy.