A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.
As part of Father’s Day weekend, my family all went to see Tag in a surprisingly small (five-row) theater, maybe a dozen or so people total. If I had to go based on the reactions of everyone in the theater as the movie was playing, my conclusion would be the jokes in Tag fell flat and was received as lukewarm. Not to worry though, because I did enough laughing to fill the entire theater.
I’m sure there are many things to critique about Tag. Even with whatever the opposite of a fine-tooth comb is, I could most definitely pick out a bunch of problems I had with the story, individual characters, or how everything ties together. Of those elements, the story is I think first on the chopping-block for riddled with problems. The ways in which the group of friends — Hoagie (Ed Helms), Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm), Chilli (Jake Johnson), Sable (Hannibal Buress), and Jerry (Jeremy Renner) — ratchets up the intensity with which they play their game of tag, the rules and amendments involved… thinking about the interplay of all that even for a while I’m sure there’s lots of problems I could identify.
But instead, I found myself too busy laughing to bother myself with that mundane task. It’s a comedy, the premise is (to me) inherently funny, so why wouldn’t I laugh. The idea is to have a good time watching Tag a movie about a group of grown men would play the same game of tag for 30+ years. As was pointed out to me, I would be pre-laughing for most of the scenes, already dying in anticipation to what was about to happen. Tag is a wonderful blend of physical comedy and punchline jokes from stoner Chilli, up-tight businessman Bob Callahan, and paranoid Sable.
There’s hints of Tag being akin to an adult Home Alone, a movie filled with silly pranks and traps, but the funnier asepct to Tag is that it’s based on real life. And unlike other “based on a true story” films where you don’t really know how much is made up (and shocker, I’m sure a lot was dramatized for this film as well), in the back of my head I was thinking at least a handful of these scenes must have actually happened. Sure enough, either right before or during the end credits, you see real-life footage of several of the elaborate tags that were pulled off, mimicking what we saw dramatized earlier. I think one of the reasons I found this movie so funny is because I could just imagine what seeing a group of men do this in real life would look like, and that imagination leads to some very funny moments.
4 out of 5