People are often surprised when they learn that “Tag” was one of my most anticipated movies of 2018, mainly because the premise looked so creative. The comedy genre is pretty much a wasteland as it is, but the movie seemed to have a ton of potential. Plus the fact that it was inspired by a true story is also a plus that kept me anticipating its release. “Tag” ends up being a fun comedy about friendship, tradition, and life, and while it doesn’t fully realize the concept, I had a good time with it, and I don’t mind adding it to my collection. “Tag” brings with it a pretty stellar ensemble cast, all of whom manages to bring their A game and also seem to be having a good time.
Every May of every year, a group of friends from high school literally track one another down just to engage in their ongoing game of Tag. Since married man Hoagie is now it, he tracks down his pals from school, and alerts them that it might be their last chance to tag elusive Jerry Pierce, their friend who has never been tagged. Even during their most competitive games as children, Jerry has never been it, and has evaded every attempt ever since. With a reporter from Wall Street Journal following them around, they’re determined to bring him down. Hoagie assembles his friends and they crash Jerry’s wedding to devise a plan to tag him once and for all. Of course that will prove to be harder than ever, as Jerry is just as skilled as he was before, and always seems to be one step ahead of them.
One of the highlights among many is Isla Fisher, who is hilarious as Ed Helms’ rabidly competitive wife Anna. Hannibal Buress and Jake Johnson also grabs some great laughs, alongside Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner, the latter two of whom do a great job playing against type. “Tag” mostly relies on Ed Helms to keep the narrative afloat with a character who views tagging Jerry as a form of conquering some unresolved goal from his childhood, and he delivers. His physical pratfalls are hilarious and he also has a great chemistry with the other cast members. “Tag” is light on the narrative but will grab a lot of laughs from the audience with the way it stages a lot of the game sessions, and emphasizes how absolutely serious these people take their game. The problem with “Tag” is it often has a rather distracting tonal problem.
The writers never decide on whether “Tag” is a silly comedy about tag, or a drama comedy about tag being more of a metaphor for growing up and accepting certain circumstances. Although we get to know a lot of these characters, there aren’t deeper digs in to their lives, such as Jerry’s visit to an AA meeting. There’s also a lot of the wedding sub-plot that goes genuinely unfinished. As for the big reveal in the climax, it felt pretty tacked on and incredibly sad for a movie that derives comedy from friends knocking one another over, and inflicting physical violence for a game of tag. It’s equally disappointing when the film literally fails to resolve the storyline, and leaves the entire narrative dangling as the credits roll. I would have loved some kind of explanation as to how everything worked out for Hoagie and the group. In either case, “Tag” is a solid comedy, with some solid direction, good laughs, and a fun premise behind it.
Featured in the release is a DVD copy and Digital copy. “Meet the Real Tag Brothers” is a five minute segment featuring interviews and private video from the members of the original ten-man tag team that inspired the movie. A lot of the footage we see here is included in the film’s closing credits. There are six minutes of Deleted scenes bunched altogether. They’re not separately listed, but come with title cards. Finally there’s the Gag Reel, clocking in at almost nine minutes. There are fumbled lines, malfunctions and everything else.