By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Based on another crazy true story (no joke) about a group of adults who have played the same game of tag for over thirty years, Tag is a riotously funny and well executed movie that is sure to keep audiences well entertained. Director Jeff Tomsic makes his feature film debut with a movie which can boast thrilling action sequences and hilarious comedic performances by its great cast. Though the movie might be lacking in the plot and story departments, it makes up for this deficit with insane physical gags and memorable lines by its characters.
Five childhood friends have been through so much together, but as they have grown older and moved away from one another, they maintain a fun tradition which unites them annually. Every May for several decades, these now grown men have played the game of tag; however, a recent development might end this annual ritual. Game champion Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner) is about to settle down and get married and wants to exit the game on top. When his friend Hogan Malloy (Ed Helms) finds out the news, he decides to gather the rest of the gang to finally take down the tag master. Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm), Randy “Chilli” Cilliano (Jake Johnson), and Kevin Sable (Hannibal Burress) agree to strategize together and remain unified to dethrone Jerry. Things get more complicated, as old wounds threaten to divide everyone. In addition, some special rules have been imposed to maintain some normalcy during the wedding events. The fact that remains, though, that Jerry still has mad skills when it comes to the game and is not an easy mark.
With a screenplay and story by Rob McKittrick and Mark Stelken, Jeff Tomsic and his talented cast and crew have made an amusing and heartwarming movie with Tag. Though the plot and story is pretty thin, the character development, comical lines and dialogue, as well as the superbly executed and cut action make this all worth watching. Much credit and praise must be given to the stunt team and editor Josh Crockett for the exceptional sequences involving Jeremy Renner’s character who insanely gifted at remaining untagged. The movie does take it to some absurd levels, but it is an absolute riot to behold.
I also laughed heartily at the humor which allowed the actors to exercise their comedic skills. The two real standouts of the film, however, are Jeremy Renner, whose confidence and straight-faced delivery had me in stitches, and Hannibal Burress whose awkward reactions and one-liners showed his improvisation game in top form. The film also features great comedic work by Isla Fisher who stars as Hogan’s intensely competitive wife Anna. The movie also stars Leslie Bibb who has her moments as Jerry’s fiancee Leslie and Rashida Jones as Cheryl Deakins, a divisive love interest for both Chilli and Bob and a voice of reason amidst the craziness of the game.
And though the premise for this movie might sound ridiculous and unreasonable, it still makes for a highly enjoyable movie and one that celebrates the gift of lasting friendship. It isn’t necessarily a movie that needs to be seen theatrically, but regardless of the venue, it is a movie that will give its audiences a great time.