I once heard it said that no one will ever know you as well as the friends you have while you are young. When you think about it, there is truth to that statement. This is a point in your life when you are most honest with everyone that you know because you are without fear of what they think of you.
I had some friends from this era in my life that I consider friends still, though as an adult I’m often busy with life and don’t see them much let alone talk to them. But what would have happened if we continued to play a game of tag for the last 30 years?
This is what forms the core of Tag. Five friends play the same game of tag every May to stay close even in their 30s. While that might sound strange, the reality of it is that Tag is based on a Wall Street Journal article about a group of friends who have been doing this exact thing. These people go so far as to travel across the country and hide in their friend’s bushes. Along with having their wives get in on the game by playing spy or warning them when their friends are coming.
We get all of the premise that we need during the first on-screen meeting of Ed Helms‘ Hogan Malloy and Jon Hamm’s Bob Callahan. Hogan breaks into a meeting that Bob is having with Wall Street Journal journalist Rebecca Crosby as played by Annabelle Wallis. During this conversation, we find that one of their friends, Jerry Peirce played by Jeremy Renner has never been tagged and is getting married. Hogan suggests that this is the best time to tag Jerry and they should crash his wedding with their other friends Randy Cilliano and Kevin Sable, played by Jake Johson and Hannibal Buress.
As the movie progresses, we find that Hogan is now married. His wife, Anna, is an overly competitive woman who at times comes off as a bit out there, played by Isla Fisher. As the story unfolds, we find that Jerry will be marring Susan Rollins, played by Leslie Bibb.
We also find out that there was an outsider who always wanted to play tag with the group but never was given the opportunity. Instead, the group uses Steve Berg’s Louis for information. The last member of the cast that has significant screen time is Rashida Jones‘ Cheryl Deakins, a woman that both Bob and Randy have had feelings for since they were young. To give himself an advantage, Jerry invited her to the wedding to get into their heads.
I have to admit that the film feels like it has a silly premise, but when I finally got a chance to watch it, it was entertaining. Each member of the cast made me laugh in one way or another, and it amazed me just how engrossed each character got into the idea of these men playing tag for so many years. The women, even though they were not allowed to play, accepted and wanted to help. Even Louis, who is consistently ignored and not allowed to play, wants to aid in the hope that he will be allowed in the game.
Jeremy Renner brings more than just his action movie name to Tag. While Renner does play the character that is the most physically active of the group, it is used well regarding physical comedy. The character is even shown to have a Sherlock Holmes inner monologue where he can see everyone’s character flaws and dissect each person’s actions. Renner also puts arrogance in his performance that shows that the character knows he’s better than his peers at this game.
With a final run time of 105 minutes, Tag felt like it was just the right length for this type of comedy. Moving along at a good pace and, when it felt like it was lagging, it was giving you story elements that move along the real plot.
It wasn’t just the action and the comedy that kept me invested in the characters; the music did its fair share too. Not only did the soundtrack fit with the story that was told and the characters within it helped my attention and helped me invest in the story.
Tag is rated R, not for anything overly lude but there is violence, language, and drug use throughout. For that reason, I would find it difficult to recommend for younger audiences, but older viewers will see it as a surprise.