Basically: The Hawkeye movie we deserve.
People always say age is a state of the mind, that you’re only as old as you feel, to look at things through the eyes of a child. I agree with some of that but the comedy TAG takes this motto to heart. Based on the true story of a bunch of friends who have been playing a single game of tag for the last thirty years, TAG makes a good case for this type of thinking.
Every May five friends get together to continue the game of tag they started when they were nine years old. Ed Helms plays Hogan or Hoagie as they call him, who leads Bob (Jon Hamm), Chilli (Jake Johnson), and Sable (Hannibal Buress) to their hometown to go after their friend Jerry (Jeremy Renner), who has never been tagged and is supposedly quitting the game because he’s getting married. What happens next is a movie where a bunch of grown men do increasingly absurd things and fail in the most Looney Tunes-slapstick ways possible.
Photo: Warner Bros.
One of the best things about this movie is the chemistry all the actors have with each other. They feel like real friends who want to be around each other. Since the movie is about real people, it’s really important the bonds are palpable to help the audience understand why, in the world, these grown men are playing this kids’ game. Isla Fisher plays Hoagie’s wife Anna who also grew up with the guys and knows all their strengths and weaknesses. She hangs out with the guys’ and has excellent timing, delivering her lines to get great laughs. Annabelle Wallis plays Rebecca Crosby, a Wall Street journalist who starts out doing a piece on Bob but when she learns about the game she changes the focus of the story—this is used as the framing device for this movie. Crosby doesn’t do much more than ask questions but it’s a good thing she doesn’t become a love interest—she remains a reporter doing her job. It’s nice to see TAG go against trope.
There really isn’t much fault with this movie. It’s not reaching for high cinema status but it’s a good comedy with a ton of heart—and it does that very, very well. The story wraps up in a way that might feel a bit sappy but works, and is also buoyed by clips of the real people this is all based on. Yeah, it’s a bit emotionally manipulative but seeing the lifelong friendship of the guys who inspired the movie makes you want to follow their lead and take the time out to have fun with your friends, instead of just work and sleep and repeat.
In the end: A great R-rated romp about friends staying together through thick and thin.