Coming to theaters this week from director Jeff Tomsic and New Line Cinema is a game that takes adulthood just by a simple “Tag.”
Hoagie (Ed Helms), Chili (Jake Johnson), Callahan (Jon Hamm), Sable (Hannibal Buress) and Jerry (Jeremy Renner) have been friends since childhood. Following them into adulthood is a game they look forward to for a whole month — tag!
Well, May has rolled around and it’s on, beginning with Hoagie recruiting the guys with a new plan aimed at the one man who hasn’t been tagged in 30 years. Jerry is a pro at the game and plays with precision and, well, ingenuity really. This time Hoagie convinces the guys that the best place to finally make it happen is at Jerry’s wedding.
Following the group is Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis), a reporter who started one story but found this to be much more interesting. Also, Hoagie’s wife Anna (Isla Fisher), a very intense and hands-on supporter of her husband’s dream of getting Jerry.
Heading home for the wedding, the boys meet Jerry’s bride Susan (Leslie Bibb), who knows about the game and begs them all too please hold off and let her have her dream day. Signing a pact to be off-limits to certain events, it doesn’t stop them from trying.
Jerry brings in the big guns when Cheryl (Rashida Jones) manages to keep Chili and Callahan emotionally busy, Sable just goes with the flow and Hoagie continues to plot. Mayhem and friendship go hand in hand with these boys in the longest-running game of tag ever.
Helms as Hoagie is dedicated to one goal — getting Jerry. Putting himself in crazy situations to make that happen is something Helms is used to doing because he does it so damn well. Johnson as Chili may have started out with a few goals but finds himself pretty much back to life’s square one. As much as he fights getting into the game, it doesn’t take much to become all in.
Hamm as Callahan wants to go for the gold where Jerry is concerned and looks good in a suit while doing it. Buress as Sable is easy going and the quiet under-comic relief. His sassy comes in smaller waves but is hilarious just the same.
Renner as Jerry is the obvious ninja in the group, having perfected his moves and ability to remain untouched after 30 years. Looking sharp and having all the right connections, Renner’s character is sharp and prepared for anything.
Fisher as Anna can be hostile, explosive and charming all in 2.5 seconds and I loved it. Supporting her man she wants in the game so badly but a rule created in the initial tag agreement doesn’t include girls. That’s not going to stop her from trying! Bibb as Susan smiles her way into the group wanting a beautiful wedding without boyish tricks. Jones as Cheryl is a diversion sent in by Jerry with a history that plays to his advantage.
Other cast include Brian Dennehy as Chili’s father, Nora Dunn as Linda, Sebastian Maniscalco as Pastor, and Steve Berg as Lou.
“Tag” is based on an article in The Wall Street Journal about a group of men from Spokane, Washington, who played the game of tag one month a year for 23 years.
“Tag” is just that, a romp of a film that proves boys can still be boys in the most epic way possible. Personally, I think it’s fantastic that this band of mischief (great name guys if you want to start a rock group!) continue to find the most creative ways of keeping the game alive. The film is also about a rock-solid friendship that has just found a way to stay connected.
Isn’t that what we are all trying to do in this world of disillusion and disconnect? These men who really continue to do this are defying the odds in that childhood friendships are just memories for most of us. The game of tag for these tag-artists is based around the one thing we seem to forget as we get older — mashing memories, fun and a genuine effort to stay connected through a simple game.
“Tag” is fun, funny, charming and doesn’t ask a lot of its audience. It’s more of a “sit back — we got this” kind of movie, and I’m more than OK with that. The laughs are there, and a bucket of popcorn is icing on the cake. The ending is a tad hokey, but then again who said it stops there?
In the end — based on a true story and we’re not kidding!