Inspired by a 2013 Wall Street Journal article about a group of friends who played tag each February for over 20 years, the generally entertaining Tag finds Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress going all out to get Jeremy Renner’s Jerry once he announces his desire to retire with a perfect record of never being “it.”
The creative lengths to which the pals will go to surprise each other consistently offer fresh laughs, as do slow-mo scenes of the competitors attempting to sneak up on Renner, only to be thwarted by his elite survival instincts (complete with ninja commentary).
Much of the zany dialogue stinks of improvisation, allowing for professional stand-up Buress to craft the best one-liners, but while the appealing cast eventually runs out of comedic steam, each core member — including Isla Fisher as Helms’ aggressive wife and Annabelle Wallis (“The Mummy”) as the WSJ reporter — delivers multiple gems.
11th hour schmaltz fails to add gravitas to the threadbare material, though the love shared in this bromance is palpable and footage before the end credits of the real-life taggers just might be the movie's best part.
Grade: C-plus. Rated R. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: Warner Bros.)