“Tag” follows the story of a small group of friends, all of whom have been playing the same game of tag every May for over 30 years. Hogan Malloy (Ed Helms) reignites the game when he tags Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm) while being interviewed by Wall Street journalist, Rebecca Crosby (Annabelle Wallis). Intrigued by their game, Rebecca follows the two as they seek out their other friends, Randy Cilliano (Jake Johnson) and Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress). Once reunited, the four friends conspire to take down Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner), the only friend who has never been tagged in the 30 years they’ve been playing this game. The film also features Isla Fisher, Leslie Bibb, and Rashida Jones.
If you’ve ever seen one promotional poster or video for this movie, then you’ll recall that “Tag” was marketed as a true story—which is not completely accurate. It’s technically based on a true story in the way that James Cameron’s “Titanic” is based on a true story. While much of the events did happen, the overall story we’re following is more or less a complete work of fiction.
Yes, “Tag” is another one of those Hollywood films that pulls the ‘based on a true story’ promotion to try and attract extra viewers. The main characters have nothing to do with the original men the story was based on. In fact, the only authenticity this movie possesses to the original story is: it’s about several old friends who are still playing tag, the wacky lengths they go through in order to tag them—though not as extreme as the movie makes them—and their story was published in the Wall Street Journal back in 2013.
Despite my criticism about the movie’s faithfulness to the original story, “Tag” is still an entertaining comedy. Unlike some bad comedies released in recent years, this film didn’t leave me disappointed or bitter that I saw it. It’s fun to watch the lengths the friends go through in order to tag Jerry, and the even GREATER lengths Jerry goes through in order to avoid being tagged. In a way, it’s almost like watching a comedic version of a spy or heist film—the characters are going through so much, all just to win a childish game.
The film also deserves credit for another feature that needs addressing: how it handles its female leads. Specifically, Annabelle Wallis’ role as a journalist, and Isla Fisher’s role as Hogan Malloy’s wife. In any other comedy, the wife would be the voice of reason that exists to chastise the men for their antics, while the female journalist would end up as the contrived love interest that falls for one of the single men; except the film never goes in that direction.
In fact, Hogan’s wife is fully supportive of the game, to the point where she’s outright encouraging and cheering them on; she gives some of the best scenes in the movie with her aggressive and competitive attitude. As for the journalist, I’m going to break one of my rules and give a small spoiler for the film. The journalist never, and I mean never, deviates from her role as the spectator, there to document the characters antics for her story, nor does she end up in a relationship with any of the other men. In a way, she represents the voice of logic and reason as she watches and comments on the characters actions. So, the film gets bonus points for giving their female leads credibility.
“Tag” is rated R for language, drug use, crude sexual content, and brief nudity. As a comedy, the film did what it was supposed to do: tell an entertaining story with some jokes. It never crosses the line of being too unbearable or uncomfortable. While there’s nothing groundbreaking about it, “Tag” is one of those comedies I recommend if you’re bored and looking for something funny to watch. Which is why the final score for “Tag” is a 7 out of 10.
Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.