Tag is a fun summer comedy about a group of friends who get together during the month of May for a very competitive game. They’ve been playing tag since since 1983 and one player has never been tagged.
Set in 2013, Hogan “Hoagie” Malloy (Ed Helms), Randy “Chilli” Cilliano (Jake Johnson), Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress), Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm), and Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner) have gotten together every May for the last 30 years. What makes this year different is that tag virgin Jerry is planning to quit the game at the end of the season. A veterinarian by trade, Hogie went as far as getting a job as a janitor at Freedom Atlantic where Callahan is CEO. It just so happens that his friend is being interviewed by Rebecca Crosby (Annabelle Wallis) for an article in the Wall Street Journal. The interview goes in a different direction when Rebecca learns of the game.
When Hoagie informs Bob that Jerry is getting married and it’s their last chance, Rebecca decides to go with them. With Jerry limited to wedding events all weekend long, there’s nothing that could possibly go wrong, right? It turns out that Jerry knows they’re coming so he’s ready for them when they arrive. No event is sacred for the group. The delivery room, funeral home, or weddings; it doesn’t matter. If someone is in any given place at any given time, it’s a known risk.
This game is competitive, anything goes except for women being allowed to play. An amendment years ago prevented them from playing so Hoagie’s super-competitive wife, Anna (Isla Fisher) can only watch from the sidelines and coach them on. It’s nice to see Fisher be given an opportunity to use her actual accent for a change! With Jerry marrying Susan (Leslie Bibb), they install a new amendment in order to enjoy the wedding festivities.
How do you distract your friends from tagging you? Invite their crush, Cheryl Deakins (Rashida Jones), so that Bob and Chilli forget about tagging Jerry in order to catch up with her! While Bob is MIA, Hoagie, Sable. and Chilli chase Jerry on a golf course only to get caught in his trap. This is probably the only aspect of the film that delves into thriller territory. Other than this, it’s a laugh riot all over!
Actor Brian Dennehy cameos as Randy’s father. It may just be a coincidence but Brian Dennehy, the former Nordstrom CMO, was among the people involved in the game. Other cameos include Lil Rel Howery as Reggie, Nora Dunn as Linda Malloy, Thomas Middleditch as one of Jerry’s employees, and Steve Berg as Lou the bartender. The scene involving Middleditch reaches a high level of hysterics.
People know Helms, Johnson, and Buress for their comedy. Thanks to 30 Rock, Bridesmaids, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and more, Hamm is getting some more opportunities for comedic roles in TV and film. It’s Renner, known recently for his role as Hawkeye in the MCU, that doesn’t quite get the same comedic opportunities. His character, Jerry, comes off as if he’s in an action film instead of a comedy. His right elbow and left wrist were broken during filming and you’d have never known that they were CGI’d.
Broad City‘s Jeff Tomsic has the perfect sensibility to bring this story to the screen. Mark Steilen co-wrote the screenplay with the perspective of having come from the same Washington town as the Tag Brothers.
The basis for the film goes back to an article written by Russell Adams and published in the Wall Street Journal on January 28, 2013. A follow-up article was published at the beginning of March 2013. With the film coming out this weekend, Adams opens up on how he got the article in the first place.
There are plenty of laughs in Tag, a bromantic comedy, with a solid ensemble of funny players. After a dreadful 2017 for the R-rated studio comedy, it’s nice to see R-rated studio comedies are on the rebound in 2018.
DIRECTOR: Jeff Tomsic
SCREENWRITERS: Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen
CAST: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, with Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner
Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema will open Tag in theaters on June 15, 2018.