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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: "Tag" is a fun movie, but not "it"

Jun 15, 2018 01:46PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Jeremy Renner, John Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress in Tag - © 2018 Warner Bros.

Tag (Warner Bros.)

Rated R for language throughout, crude sexual content, drug use and brief nudity.

Starring Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Brian Dennehy, Sebastian Maniscalco, Lil Rel Howery, Thomas Middleditch.

Written by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen, based on the Wall Street Journal Article "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It" by Russell Adams.

Directed by Jeff Tomsic.



It’s all fun and games until someone dies. Okay, that’s a little extreme, but the story behind Tag, a movie comedy about a group of grown men who have been playing the playground game of “tag” for the past 23 years is one of extremes. Extremely funny? Maybe.

Ed Helms plays Hogan “Hoagie” Malloy, a successful professor and ringleader of the game that began when the men were boys in the Spokane area. Other players in the game are successful corporate businessman Bob Callahan (John Hamm), slacker Randy “Chilli” Cilliano (Jake Johnson), Kevin Sable (Hannibal Burress) and the man who’s never been tagged, Jerry Peirce (Jeremy Renner). The rules of the game are basically the same as the playground version, except the men only ply it during the month of May (in the real version, it’s the month of February). If you’re the last one tagged, you are “it” for the rest of the year, and open for ridicule among the group. The game is pretty intense, but also a good excuse for old pals to get together every year.

When the group learns Jerry is getting married on the last day of May, they congregate in Hoagie’s mother’s basement and devise a plan to finally get him. Tagging along (no pun intended) are Hoagie’s wife Anna (Isla Fisher) and Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis), a Wall Street Journal writer who witnessed the game and is dedicated to writing a story about it. When the wedding day arrives, Jerry’s fiancé Susan (Leslie Bibb) gets in on the action, along with Cheryl (Rashida Jones), Chilli and Bob’s old flame from their teenage years, invited to the wedding by Jerry to distract the other players. During the wedding, Hoagie makes one more desperate attempt to tag Jerry and is met with some serious consequences.

Tag has its moments, and the chemistry between the ensemble is palpable, even if their actions get a little childish and silly. There are a lot of drugs, alcohol and sexual references at play during the game and its planning stages as if the players are overindulging a little too much. When the movie takes a serious turn at the finale, you’re never sure if it’s just another ruse by one of the players to win.

Tag is a movie that toys with the idea of sentimentality, losing its identity between heartwarming comedy and slapstick or party boy raunchiness. Either way, you can have fun with Tag, but not too much. There is a time to grow up, but that doesn’t mean a little childish fun is out of the question, even if you’ve got to know your limits.

Tag Trailer