Starring: Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner
Director: Jeff Tomsic
Running Time: 101 mins
Tag is an American film about a group of childhood friends who, over the course of the last thirty years, have been playing tag every year. However, with one of their number still having never been tagged, the rest of the gang team up to finally make him it.
I really liked this film. It may seem silly and juvenile, and it frankly is, but it’s an honest, genuine and often even heartwarming sort of juvenile that makes for a really enjoyable watch. Complete with a whole host of entertaining and thoroughly likable lead performances, as well as surprisingly strong humour throughout, Tag made me laugh and smile all the way through, which is ultimately all that I wanted to see from this film.
Let’s start off with the story, because, as preposterous and pointless as it may seem, it’s all based on a true story. Of course, artistic license is obviously taken on a number of occasions – something I’ll get onto in a moment – but the key premise of a group of friends having played the same game of tag over the last few decades on a nationwide scale is something that’s based entirely on reality, something that I absolutely loved.
Because, while the film works great a silly comedy, the most memorable thing about it is the innocent and heartwarming nature of how a simple, silly game like this can keep a group of friends together for so long. While others go their separate ways, these guys stay together through a common love for something that’s just a good bit of fun to them, and it’s a central theme in the story that I was really impressed to see.
Of course, when it comes to showing the strength of their friendship on screen, good performances are needed too. Fortunately, Tag has a wide array of A-listers – Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Burres and Isla Fisher – all of whom put in strong turns, both crafting likable characters that you can relate to and strike up a bit of a friendship with, as well as possessing all the comedic chops needed to make you laugh.
And again, while the film is silly and juvenile, it never takes itself too seriously, getting overly drawn into the depth of the characters’ friendship, which leaves plenty of time for great comedic antics. With the typical array of slapstick throughout, I laughed quite a lot throughout, while the film also never strays into straining the bonds of that main friendship simply for comedic purposes.
Too often do these late night comedies use annoying personal conflict as an opportunity for gags, but this film keeps things sweet and innocent throughout, with the only conflict coming as a result of the game at the centre of the story, something that only adds to the fun of it all.
If I were to have one problem with Tag, though, I would definitely say that it has moments where it strays just a little too far from reality, with a couple of sequences that move away from the relatable, innocent nature of a simple game of tag, to something that’s a little bit too extravagant and intricate. Whether or not those parts are based on reality, I’m not sure, but they don’t quite work in the context of this film and its key message.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed Tag. A funny, likable, silly and enjoyable comedy from beginning to end, the film also impresses with a selection of great performances, and a heartwarming and relatable central theme that left me smiling right the way through, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.