Early 1970s. Four strangers check in at the El Royale Hotel. The hotel is deserted, staffed by a single desk clerk. Some of the new guests' reasons for being there are less than innocent and some are not who they appear to be.
Childhood friends Jerry (Jeremy Renner), Callahan (Jon Hamm), Randy (Jake Johnson), Sable (Hannibal Buress) and Hoagie (Ed Helms) have been competing in the same game of tag for 30 years. When Jerry gets married, he attempts to retire from the intense annual game without ever being "it," causing the other four to band together and go to extreme lengths to finally tag him. Directed by Jeff Tomsic. Inspired by the Wall Street Journal article "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It."
Ed Helms and Isla Fisher were both in Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), although Helms' appearance in a self-help video was uncredited. See more »
In the church scene Callahan is tagged by Hoagie and then later tagged Hoagie again even though there is a no tag back rule. After that Hoagie was "it" until he tagged Jerry. See more »
What's the difference between Episcopalian and Lutheran?
Episcopalians don't eat fish.
That's... pescatarian, that's... not a religion.
They're all fanatics, I don't know.
See more »
Though the film opens with a caption stating it is inspired by a true story, and even closes with an image of the actual Wall Street Journal article, the credits do include the standard disclaimer about the film and its characters being fictional. See more »
Amusing (but only sporadically funny) R-rated Laughs
Few studio comedies have a premise as ludicrous at first glance than "Tag," which centers on a group of 40-something men playing the playground game of tag for a month every year. They play the game with absolutely no holds barred, and the best player in the group (who has never been tagged,) is about to marry.
The cast in this film is generally quite strong throughout. I'm a fan of much of the ensemble, which was the primary reason I took interest in this comedy. The chemistry between the leading men is strong, and the female roles are also enjoyable to watch while adding narrative tissue to the film. It's certainly enjoyable and entertaining to see such a talented cast just have fun with each other. The plot is generally amusing, and the slapstick "action" sequences as players avoid being tagged are fairly creative and fun to watch. That said, the film does have some very notable flaws which bring it down a notch compared to similar mainstream comedy films.
The first key flaw with the movie is the clear and present lack of conflict, since the characters agree to a book of rules for the game--so even though players can be afraid of being tagged, there's a pretty drastic lack of suspense or even a sense of thrill in these moments at times. The writing is fine and there are some good jokes, but plenty of them don't work. Much of the humor tends to come from the absurdity of the situations in the game rather than any written plot devices. Also, the movie seems to (maybe unintentionally?) send a mixed message about the friends' game of tag. It means to be a silly comedy that doesn't take itself seriously, and also wants to portray the friend group as tight knit. Then again, it also portrays the game of tag as something that does have clear negative consequences--albeit to a fleeting and finite extent. Of course the movie is intended to be over-the-top, but even in far-fetched scenarios like this, there is a psychological limit to just how long the viewer can suspend their disbelief. That doesn't mean they won't have some fun watching it, but it means that the movie's concept could have been executed slightly better.
If you are a fan of someone in the cast, I liked "Tag" just enough to recommend that you see it, but others can probably just wait to rent it. 6/10
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