Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 2 Average: 3/5]
Directed By: Jeff Tomsic
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Leslie Bib, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones
Tag is the story of a group of middle aged friends who meet a month every year and play the game of Tag. It is based on a true story published in the Wall Street Journal in 2013. Tag rekindles childhood memories and makes you remember all the stupid things you did with your childhood friends. This movie is about friendship and the inner child who has to be kept alive at all costs.
Growing up means growing apart. Circumstances change as you chase life and you move away from the people you grew up with. Technology keeps you in touch but its not the same. You may meet sometimes to relive all the laughs and heartbreaks but there is always a void because of the time constraint. But in Tag a group of 5 friends have found a way to stay connected for so many years. They are still relevant in each others lives due to the pact they made during their childhood. These guys converge to their hometown a month every year and play a no holds barred game of Tag. Their competitiveness might have cost them their jobs and relationships but still their inner child refuses to die.
This time it is special as Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner), the undisputed king of the game has raised the white flag. Jerry has never been ‘It’ and plans to retire after his marriage to Susan Rollins (Leslie Bib). Hogan Malloy (Ed Helms) starts assembling the group as he tags Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm) in the middle of his interview with a Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Crosby (Annabelle Wallis). Rebecca realizes the potential of the story and tags along with them to minute the details. They then recruit Randy Cilliano (Jake Johnson) and Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress). The group is accompanied by Anna Malloy (Isla Fisher), Hogan’s wife who, like the group, is totally crazy and competitive. They hatch a plan to finally nail Jerry as he would be vulnerable due to his commitments.
But, there is a reason why Jerry has never been ‘It’. Jerry is super athletic and is always on a lookout for these guys. They play into his hands and get their asses kicked repeatedly. He is prepared for them and is willing to risk whatever it takes to maintain his un-tagged status. Whether they are able to finally tag him or not forms the rest of the plot.
Tag starts brilliantly when Hogan goes to crazy lengths to tag Callahan. The scene is hilarious and brilliantly sets up the tone of the film. This is Jeff Tomsic’s directorial debut. He has given us some moments of brilliance and deserves special praise. The inner monologue of Jerry and the slow motion action sequences during the tagging attempts make it easy to understand the scene and takes the comedy up a notch. Tag plays according to the actor’s strengths. Their characters are broadly sketched in the images of the respective actors. I really liked Isla Fisher’s craziness. As for Renner’s character we finally know why Hawk-eye is not there in Avengers: Infinity War. He uses his hawk-eye reflexes to the full to avoid being ‘It’.
The problem with Tag is that it has very less heart. The essence of the movie was to be relevant in each others life even after these many years. But Jerry is a recovering alcoholic and he doesn’t disclose it to his friends. Also they fake a very sensitive issue for the game which, for me was too much as a trade-off for competitiveness. I do understand that Tag doesn’t want to get serious and hence avoids getting too personal. But it also reduces the movie to a mere time pass when it had the potential to be much more. I felt the real life footage of the original friends at the end had more heart than the movie.
Flaws aside, it is still watchable. It is a feel good time pass movie like Ocean’s 8 and Game Night and will leave you smiling and possibly wishing for a similar connect with your childhood friends. Watch it and share your rating above.
Enjoy the Trailer: