I wish there were more studio comedies like Tag.
As I’ve often griped, contemporary comedies rely on familiar faces, familiar plots and altogether too much ad-libbing. Like Game Night and 21 Jump Street before it, Tag pairs action – in this case, the ripped-from-the-headlines story of childhood friends playing a lifelong game of tag – with jokes, necessitating a sharply-directed film in contrast to its loose comedic compatriots.
Is Tag hilarious? Not necessarily. The film is more endearing than reliant on big laughs; the characters (played by the likes of Ed Helms, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm and Hannibal Buress) are clearly-defined without being two-dimensional or relying on trite redemptive arcs and – like in great sitcoms – you get the genuine sense that they like one another. But Tag doesn’t play it entirely safe, either! Many jokes push right up against the edge of good taste without feeling inappropriate. That’s a balance few films get right, but it works here.
I wish there were more films like this, films that you can spend an easy hundred minutes with and feel thoroughly entertained without feeling like you’ve simply rewatched an older, better film. Tag’s not quite spectacular, but it put a smile on my face.