Tag Movie

Kyle Kaplan via CNN

Movie Review: 'Tag'

The R-rated 'Tag' is about friendship and competition.

June 15, 2018 - 3:30 am

By Bill Wine

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Confronted with the premise for a new comedy called Tag  -- which is a game of tag played by grownups --  your initial reaction is likely to be something like:
  
"Well, it's official. Hollywood has finally done it. The movie industry is, as of now, completely out of ideas."
   
That may not be the case, but it sure feels like it watching this dreadful excuse for a comedy.
   
An epic game of tag (y'know, as in, you're it) does indeed trigger the plot of this ensemble romp, but it is admittedly an elaborate variation of the outdoor game and it's for adults.

Movie Star

  
Jeff Tomsic, a television director making his unimpressive feature-film debut, works from a barebones script by Rob McKittrick and Mark Stellen from a screen story by Stellen that's based on a 2013 Wall Street Journal article entitled "It takes planning, caution to avoid being it" by Russell Adams.
   
The inspiration -- although that word does not belong in any consideration of Tag -- comes from a group of real-life friends who, every May and for the entire month, participate in an anything-goes game of tag in Spokane, Washington that they've been playing since childhood, although whereas the real players began this practice in first grade, the film has them having begun during their senior year of high school.
   
So, every year, these five former classmates and highly competitive buddies travel from all over the country to extend the game.
   
But whereas in school, whoever had the misfortune of being tagged last would remain "it" until the next day, when the game would resume, now whoever is tagged "it" at the end of the month remains such for the next eleven months and until the game resumes the following year.
  
And this year could be the last go-round because one of them who's never been tagged -- Jeremy Renner's Jerry -- could be quitting.  He's getting married, he's undefeated, and he knows they're coming to get him.
  
Oh, who cares?
  
The R-rated Tag is about friendship and competition.  And here is how one character articulates what is on the film's, ahem, mind.
   
"We don't stop playing because we grow old.  We grow old because we stop playing."
   
Fine. But that doesn't mean there's enough material here to flesh out a feature-film narrative.
   
Oh, and by the way: it's not funny, not even a little.  To get a glance at the legitimate comedy chops of players Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, and Isla Fisher, you'll have to look elsewhere.
   
So we'll chase down 1 star out of 4 for the lazy and sophomoric slapstick farce, Tag.  If you're looking for someone who detested the experience, as they say, I'm it.