“Tag”

 

            “Inspired by a true story.”  And one of the fun bits is a sequence at the end where the “real” guys get a little camera time with their annual hijinks.  They were boyhood friends.  Now that they're grown men, they're still playing Tag.  But only during the month of May.  And disguises are OK.

            In this film version, you reduce the number of guys involved (from ten to five) and add some female interest.  The wife of one of the guys, Anna (Isla Fisher) is just as competitive as the men---maybe more so.  She also adds most of the scatalogical language. Then there's Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis), the reporter from the “Wall Street Journal” who was interviewing one of the guys about his prosperous business when she witnesses the “Tag” game first-hand, and is so interested that she decides to write her article about that instead.  Then there's the sultry high school classmate of the guys, Cheryl (Rashida Jones), who, we find out, has been encouraged by another of the guys to show up at his wedding in order to provide a distraction.  Oh, and his lovely bride, Leslie Bibb, is in on the hijinks, as well.

            Yes, it's fun to watch everybody having fun with being immature.  Guys in suits chasing each other.  Setting traps for each other.  Making alliances with one another to get another guy tagged.  And one of them is so much better that he's incurred the jealousy of all the rest.  But there's an element of exclusion, as well---the bartender buddy in their hometown who always wanted to be part of the group, but just isn't invited.  These guys aren't above crashing some guy's hospital room.  Or a session with a therapist.  A graveside service.  A wedding reception.  An AA meeting.  All is fair game.

            But it's not quite as hilarious as it could have been.  The jokes about one of them being a stoner gets as stale as, well, secondhand smoke.  The traps set in the trees after a chase scene with golf carts (throwing a bucket of balls overboard to hinder the other's progress) seemed like stretching it too far.  Were it not for all the language, this could have appealed to wider audiences, but it's still a little too tame---and bromancy---for any hard-edged “R” rating. 

            It's silly and dumb.  So why is it you walk out with a sudden urge to play “Tag”?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association