Under the Radar

'TAG': Avoiding Adulthood at All Costs

Hannibal Buress, Jake Johnson, Ed Helms, Jon Hamm and Isla Fisher star in "TAG." (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Anyone born before 1975 or so at least has vague memories of grownups who acted like grownups. Sure, old guys would take off for the fishing camp or the golf resort to get hammered and act like idiots, but most of the time they acted their age.

"TAG" (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD) tells a story that would've been unimaginable in 1970. Based on a real Wall Street Journal story (read it here if you have a subscriber login), the movie follows a group of middle-aged guys who've spent the month of May playing an elaborate game of tag for thirty years.

Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner play tag crew and Annabelle Wallis is the WSJ reporter who follows the crew to Renner's wedding. He's the only member of the group who's never been tagged and his friends are determined to get him before he "retires" after matrimony. Isla Fisher plays Helms' equally competitive wife, Rashida Jones is an old flame invited to distract a couple of guys from the game and Leslie Bibb is the bride-to-be.

That's a lot of comic talent and the script actually holds together far better than you'd expect from your average studio comedy shot on the cheap in the state of Georgia. In fact, the movie's good enough that at least one person who lives there (me) wasn't distracted by the recycled locations.

There's some heartwarming nonsense at the end and some "learning" but the moral message doesn't distract from a group of talent comic actors (men and women) who are in great form playing versions of the characters that everyone likes to see them play. (Hamm and Renner count as comic actors. Those guys deserve credit for always being funny when they have a chance.)

"TAG" stands up to multiple viewings. It's the kind of movie you end up streaming on HBO five times or watching on regular cable twenty times because it's funny enough to keep your attention and you don't know what else to watch. It's weird that everyone has such a hard time making comedies that consistently deliver the goods, but "TAG" is one of the few excellent time wasters we've seen this year. 

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