• 21 Jul - 27 Jul, 2018
  • Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
  • Reviews

In Tag, a group of friends have been playing a game of Tag for the last 30 years. That’s it, essentially. The premise couldn’t be more straightforward, nor could this adaptation be of a real life event.

A few years back, this story of 10 men who have been playing an on-going game of tag for the last three decades made its way from being a local news-story from Spokane, Washington to a headline of a national level thanks to The Wall Street Journal coverage.

Will Farrell, who optioned the movie rights along with Jack Black, took the premise to Warner Bros., and voila, we have the right ingredients for a fine weekend time-filler.

Notwithstanding its simplistic premise the film adaptation has some worthwhile emotional moments, especially in its latter half. Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress are four friends who have yet to “tag” their un-taggable friend played by Jeremy Renner.

Renner, who seems to have all of his action-movie training from Bourne Legacy, Avengers and Mission: Impossible to fall back on, plays the super-agile ninja-level master of the game. A man so fast and cunning that he uses any – and I mean any – dastardly trick in the book to maintain his status as the one-who-can-not-be-tagged.

The game is guys only, meaning the girls in the movie can’t be “It”; the female cast, by the way, is made up of Isla Fisher, Helm’s ferociously competitive-natured wife; Leslie Bibb, as Renner’s fiancée; and Annabelle Wallis who plays a journalist from The Wall Street Journal covering this story.

There’s also some cynicism and emotional un-involvement that may come across as nasty and uncaring, but given that Tag is a meek adult-oriented comedy about guys just having fun, it’s best to take the jests in stride (after all, all guys make nasty remarks from time to time – especially in macho-company).

The cast is uniformly fine, especially Renner, Helms and Fisher, who nail every bit of their character briefs. Director Jeff Tomsic and screenwriters Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen (the latter also getting story credit) try to inject some sentiments within the franticness, yet come up short. Some of it seems almost as if the emotional bits were chopped down in the edit.

Still, Tag is an engaging action-comedy that works solely because of its premise. Some days, you just have to make-do with that. •