Tag is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Jeff Tomsic (in his directorial debut) and written by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen. The film is based on a true story that was published in The Wall Street Journal about a group of grown men, played by Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner, who spend one month a year playing the game of tag. Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, and Leslie Bibb also star.
So that’s the basis of this film, grown men – in their what seems like 40s atleast judging the ages of the actors – still playing the children’s game of tag. Hogan “Hoagie” Malloy, Bob Callahan, Randy “Chilli” Cilliano, Kevin Sable and Jerry Pierce have been playing tag since they were nine years old, starting in 1983, during the month of May. Since then, the group’s main rule of the game is that the last one tagged is “it,” until next season. Hogan tags his CEO friend Bob and then get their stoner friend, divorced loser Chilli and then they go get Kevin (the token black guy). Hogan reveals that their friend Jerry is planning to retire after this May as he is getting married in a few days and since Jerry has never been tagged in his life, this is the last year they can attempt it.
Rebecca Crosby, a Wall Street Journal reporter doing a piece on Bob, joins them and decides to write an article on the friends. They are also accompanied by Hoagie’s wife Anna. What follows next is hilarious attempts to tag Jerry, who is always one step or several steps away from his friends. He is athletic and agile and very clever, being the owner of his own fitness business. His wife to be, Susan, is cautiously enthusiastic but pleads to the other four that they won’t do anything at the rehearsal dinner or the actual wedding. During the rehearsal dinner, Susan reveals to the guys that she is pregnant. Also in the mix is fellow classmate Cheryl Deakins who used to be the love interest for both Bob & Chillli at one point and both of them now try to date her as she is recently widowed.
Well in the end, after an inappropriate way to get outta of being tagged, Jerry gets married but Hoagie charges at Jerry, but narrowly misses and ends up tackling the pastor to the ground. Hoagie then loses consciousness, which Jerry thinks is a ruse, but Anna confirms that Hoagie’s condition is serious and calls for an ambulance. At the hospital it turns out that Hogan tells them the truth: he had lied about Jerry quitting after the season because he wanted to reunite with his friends after he recently discovered a tumor on his liver and has advanced liver cancer; he may not be alive for the following year. Jerry chooses to swallow his pride and allows Hoagie to tag him. The group starts the game again, running around the hospital as they did as children, and change their rules so Anna, Rebecca, and Susan can play as well.
Before the credits roll, multiple photographs and video clips are displayed, showing the real group of ten men that inspired the film, who continue to play to this day. Which I find fascinating and endearing. The film, though it started out very well lost a lot of steam later on. I found some of the humour forced and boy does Hannibal Buress look out of place in this film. It just seems like they wanted a black guy to fill out the group and found him. He was the dud in the film and is quite a bit younger than the other 4. Talk about miscasting! 7 outta 10!