A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.
Between the great weather, holidays and the World Cup, alongside a slightly diminished schedule at the cinema, I’ve not been to see as many films as usual recently, so a lazy Sunday seemed like a perfect time to remedy this situation. The film I settled on was ‘Tag’, a film that on the face off it I’d written off as a by the numbers mindless comedy and whether it was my low expectations or not, I really enjoyed it and it hit a sweet spot with me. The film is based on a 2013 New York Times article about a group of friends from Spokane, Washington, who have been playing a never ending game of tag for one month every year since childhood. From this set up, the filmmakers and a game cast have crafted a movie that is both pretty funny and pretty heart-warming, getting the most out of the silly and naturally childish premise.
I’m sure most people are familiar with the childhood game of ‘Tag’ and this is the game taken to the extreme, with the group adopting elaborate disguises and travelling hundreds of miles to keep the game going (shown nicely in some footage of the actual people towards the end). The film features an ensemble cast, led mainly by Hoagie (Ed Helms), with the narrative introducing the audience to the rules of this embellished game of tag and how it forms an important part of these people’s lives. The outsider (or audience surrogate) to this strange form of bonding is an NYT journalist played by Annabelle Wallis, who chooses to follow the story as the group attempt to tag one of their friends who is so good at the game that he’s never been tagged. It’s the blend of the silly and sincere that makes the film work and it actually grows into a strong story of friendship through the mostly likeable characters and charismatic cast.
How much of the narrative is based on fact and how much is embellished for cinematic purposes is unclear, but I did find that the film makes a switch to a more cynical tone towards the end with some darker jokes that I felt did the story a disservice and worked against the feel good nature of the plot. Regardless of the basis in fact I did think this was a fun movie overall and it delivered enough laughs through its energetic and fast paced plot to keep me entertained throughout and I think a lot of people will enjoy it.
Directed By: Jeff Tomsic
Starring: Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher, Nora Dunn, Steve Berg, Leslie Bibb and Rashida Jones