Tag is based on the remarkably true story of a group of men who have kept their same childhood game of tag going for decades, risking their safety and careers in pursuit of pulling one over on their friends. It’s a ridiculous concept for a feature film that could have resulted in a real dud, but thanks to some solid casting and a hilarious script, it works so well that it’s easily my favorite comedy of the year.
Each year for a month, the men play tag wherever they are, resorting to costumes and tomfoolery to track down their targets for no other reward than bragging rights. One of the guys (Jeremy Renner) has never been tagged, but with his impending nuptials the other men decide the time has come to relieve him of that distinction. When a reporter catches wind of their antics, she decides to follow along in the hopes of turning their playtime into a legitimate news story. That’s really all there is to the plot, but as it plays out it grows increasingly funny as the men scheme to one up each other, using a silly kids game to stay connected and in each other’s lives as adults.
Jon Hamm is perfectly cast as a suave businessman ready to drop his work and his maturity whenever the game is on. Jeremy Renner gets a lot of laughs as the untouchable champion, mostly due to some deft slo-mo camera work that tracks the epic tag failures of his buddies. Ed Helms successfully plays to type as an uptight nerd, while Jake Johnson is a bit off the mark as a stoner, and Hannibal Buress just seems to be operating on another bizarre frequency that never quite synchs with the other contestants. Isla Fisher scores in a strong supporting role as Renner’s devious fiancée, while Annabelle Wallis is merely ok as the reporter following the game.
The Blu-ray has only a light sprinkling of bonus features, led off by a startling brief interview with some of the real “Tag Brothers” and followed by perfunctory deleted scenes and a gag reel. The deleted scenes can be overlooked, but the gag reel is an amusing look into just how much fun the cast had on set. It’s disappointing that the bonus features are so sparse, but the movie provides more than enough laughter on its own.