“Tag” movie hides heartwarming message in comedic action

By Macy Santicola, Contributing Writer

On the surface, Tag, directed by Jeff Tomsic, appears to be just another off-color comedy in the same vein as The Hangover. For the most part, it is; but at the heart of the film that hit theaters June 15 is a story about friendship.

The film stars Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, and Jeremy Renner as four friends who have engaged in an annual game of tag for thirty years. Every May, the game is on and the objective is to not be “it” when the clock hits midnight on June 1. The elaborate game of tag, which features rules and amendments made over the years, has survived the natural separation that occurs with long-time friends and is used as a way to get the group back together.

Tag features ridiculously over-the-top action scenes as the group of friends attempt to tag Jerry (played by Renner) who has never been “it” in the entire 30-year span of the game. The film is rated R and is laced with crude humor, but the jokes among the group of friends are relatable.

To the credit of the superb cast, none of the comedic moments felt forced and elicited laughs from the audience. The physical elements, however, were often too exaggerated and unbelievable which tended to take away from the chemistry between the cast.

The film is actually loosely based on a true story of ten friends who have been playing tag since high school. Their story was covered in an article in The Wall Street Journal and is significantly less intense than portrayed in the film. While none of the characters represent the real men, some of the featured “tags” in the film were based on the group’s real tags, including one friend tagged at his father’s funeral.

The distracting dramatics do take away from the message of friendship, but the film does bring it back to what’s important at the end.

Overall, the film won’t go down as the funniest of the decade, but is a great choice for a night out with friends, especially those finally together during the summer break.

Photo Credit: Tag, IMDb.com