TAG the film is based on the kids playground game “Tag”. The comedy centres on a group of kids, now fully grown up with jobs who have been playing this game every year during the month of May for 30 years.
Sounds unbelievable? The ads and the film itself make sure that the audience is reminded of this fact. Based on a True Story. But this phrase can mean a lot of things and it seems that only the main fact that the men are still playing the game is true. All else could have been made up for what Warner Bros. hopes to be a successful box-office male comedy to the likes of THE HANGOVER or HOT TUB TIME MACHINE.
The film is based on real-life friends from Spokane featured in a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It” by Russell Adams. When the film opens, one of the friends, a CEO, Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm) is being interviewed by a Washington Post reporter (Annabelle Wallis) when he suddenly tagged by Hoagie (Ed Helms) who has sneaked into his office after gaining employment as a janitor. The reporter decides to follow the men on the game to write her article on the friends playing tag.
The film goes downhill from this point and very fast. The aim of the men is to tag Jerry (Jeremy Renner in Jason Bourne mode) who has never been it during all the many years. Jerry is about to be wed to a high maintenance bride (Leslie Bibb) and this is the perfect opportunity to tag him as he has not much chance of getting away.
There is only so much one can do with this premise. The chases get monotonous and one can only fall down in a limited number of ways when running away or banging into things. Expensive ornaments get wrecked, windows broken, walls bashed in are what the audience is n for. Director Tomsik (in his directorial debut, too and he is given this sorry script and story) even resorts to some inventive filming (example: the chases in a building are brought outside with the camera showing the chase as the men run past the windows) cannot lift the film from its mediocrity.
The script by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen brings in the female element to expand the target audience with the characters of the bride and also Hoagie’s wife, Anna (Isla Fisher). Anna is very eager to get into the game (gender equality?), helping her husband aggressively. Unfortunately none of their antics evoke many laughs. The script calls for Anna to scream lots of vulgarities that only serve to emphasize how desperate the film is in need of laughter. Worse still, the script inserts a message (and a very obvious and unbelievable one at that) towards the end when Hoagie is hospitalized. There is one coloured character, Sable (Hannibal Buress) who is not given much to do.
The film runs an hour and 45 minutes. This is one game that has run too long. But the film’s budget comes under $30 millions which means that it should make a bit of cash for this male adult comedy.
TAG the film is really not it!