Back Rowe Reviews
Real Time Movie Reviews from the Back Row of a Theater

Tag (R)

Directed by: Jeff Tomsic
Starring: Jeremy Renner
June 2018

Warning! This is NOT a movie review. This is a critique of the film. Intended to initiate a dialogue, the following analysis explores various aspects of the film and may contain spoilers. Views are my own and elaborate on comments that were originally tweeted in real time from the back row of a movie theater
@BackRoweReviews. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. Ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!

Based on the true story (which was published in The Wall Street Journal) of how a group of grown men played a full-impact game of tag for 23 years, Tag is an unconventional comedy brought to us by virgin director, Jeff Tomsic. Each year during the month of May, five lifelong friends risk their careers, relationships, and life and limb to say “You’re it!” to a buddy...and then learn how that friend has been doing over the past year. The men use the game as a means of keeping in touch with each other, which is the only redeeming aspect of the game/movie. The story begins with Hogan “Hoagie” Malloy (Ed Helms) tagging Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm) during a business meeting. Hoagie tells Bob his plan for how to get the whole gang back together again for a special mission. The big news is that Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner) is getting married, which will make him a sitting duck. Jerry, who has the instincts and reflexes of James Bond (or, more appropriately, a Kingsman) has never been tagged; he always manages to dodge, trip or butt-punch the other players before making his escape through a prearranged egress. To ensure that her dream wedding won’t be disrupted by childish shenanigans, Jerry’s bride-to-be (Leslie Bibb) makes the other players sign a contract, which stipulates that they will suspend their competitive tagging until after the ceremony. But this doesn’t dissuade the players from attempting to find a loophole in the contract. Sound silly? It is. Tomsic stretches this thin premise so far you can read this review through it. After two hours of watching inane pranks and pratfalls, you’re ready to say, “Fine, just tag me already!” Aside from its Three Stooges style antics and potty humor, the movie seems to condone the destruction of property since multiple windows are broken, the roof of a car is smashed by a falling idiot (and, strangely, no alarm goes off on impact) and a golf cart is rammed into a tree. No apology is offered or restitution made for these blatant acts of vandalism. What a wonderful world to live in where there aren’t any consequences to such flagrant actions. No wonder these men have never grown up. The most reprehensible of these sequences is the free-for-all in the hospital, where injured and sick patients get caught in the middle of the rampant roughhousing. Wasn’t there a different, more appropriate, venue Tomsic could’ve chosen for the no-holds-barred finale? The sequence is disrespectful and models bad behavior for impressionable viewers…some of whom might end up being the next generation of taggers. Much of the dialog consists of inspirational quotes from dubious sources delivered with all the subtlety of a chair being thrown up against bulletproof glass. In the end, Tag is a mildly amusing buddy story that somehow manages to convey an important message—the value of friendship—amid a crass and silly story. Though not a top-tier comedy, Tag boasts a solid cast and offers a few good laughs. Will there be a Tag 2? We’ll have to wait and see how this film does first. Until then…you’re it!

Rating: 2 out of 4 stars