I’m not surprised to know “Tag” is not just a bad comedy, but a nasty one. It’s said to be based on a true story, according to the Wall Street Journal, about some grown men playing a cross country game of Tag. Playing the real game is fun, but seeing a movie about it is mean.
Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, and Hannibal Buress play old friends, who have been playing the same game of Tag every May since they were kids. The only one who hasn’t been it is Jerry (Jeremy Renner), who decides to retire from the game, because of his engagement to the spoiled Susan (Leslie Bibb). They plan to finally get him before it’s too late.
But Jerry is too smart for their own good. He senses when he’s in danger, and attacks them every step of the way without getting touched. For example, after a golf cart chase, he hides out in the woods with men playing him, and setting up log and net traps for his friends.
Tagging along with them on their mission are a journalist for the Wall Street Journal (Annabelle Wallis), and Helm’s aggressive wife (Isla Fisher). She does have a scene where she interviews the boys, so she’s not the problem. Almost every scene with the wife is just so vulgar and savage, I couldn’t stand her anymore. Who asked her to tag along? Nobody.
I never laughed once through “Tag.” Maybe one touching scene and archival footage of the real men who played the game, but the rest got to me. The humor has to resort to violence, blow job jokes, screams, slow motion, and middle fingers. In fact, Renner injured himself while making this piece of crap, and was able to finish with special effects on his arms. I didn’t like the characters, and I felt a lot of the jokes and tricks are predictable. And even if some aren’t, they still didn’t tickle me.
And there is also the friend’s bartender buddy (Steve Berg), who wants to be part of the game, and they always reject him. There is never a scene when they come to their senses and let him join. It’s unfair.
Now, I think Helms, Hamm, Johnson, Buress, and Renner are all fabulous people with the right material. But apparently, they sometimes have to be placed in the wrong movies.
Earlier this year, I saw a smart comedy about adults playing games. It was called “Game Night,” and it’s out now on Blu-Ray. That movie surprised me with how smart and funny its actually was. “Tag,” however, never made me laugh once, but left me aggravated.