There’s an inherent joy at the heart of Tag, a movie about a group of friends who have been playing the game for thirty years, which is based on a true story. The bonds between the group of friends are honest and heartfelt, even as they violently slap and punch each other to see who is next to be it. And while that sweetness is nice in a field generally dominated by cynicism and aggressive negativity, it’s not enough to carry a movie short on actual story, well-developed characters and anything really beyond the premise.

The core group of friends, played by Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, and Hannibal Buress, are out to get their soon-to-be-wed pal, Jerry (Jeremy Renner, having fun for once) who in three decades has never been tagged. Along for the fun is Isla Fisher, playing Helms’ aggressively competitive wife, Annabelle Wallis, as a reporter, Steve Berg, a bartender and former classmate desperate to be a part of the fun, Leslie Bibb as Jerry’s bride-to-be and Rashida Jones, the central figure in a love triangle between Bob (Hamm) and the always-stoned Chilli (Johnson).

There are a lot of fun and funny moments, some unexpected ones, and some that are cringeworthy. An AA meeting played for laughs is funny in parts but mostly uncomfortable. The climax is both surprising and expected. Tag is sometimes funny movie that coasts along on the charm of its actors, and while it’s not offensive or bad outright, there’s also not much there either.

My Grade – C+


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