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  • by Wes Singleton

Tag, C


Rated R, 100 minutes

If you've ever played the game tag, you know how frustrating being "it" can be trying to catch someone else. Imagine making a movie about it that's loosely inspired by a real story of a group of friends who play it for one-month out of the year for decades. Immaturity reigns supreme in the fun yet contrived, flat new comedy "Tag" does exactly that, and while some of it works OK, it reminds of the old saying from Danny Glover's Murtaugh from the "Lethal Weapon" series: "I'm too old for this s--t."

At nine years old, a group of tight-knit friends--Hoagie (Ed Helms), Jerry (Jeremy Renner), Bob (Jon Hamm), Chili (Hannibal Burris) and Kevin (Jake Johnson)--created a game of tag that they played through the month of May. After thirty years, it was the thing that brought them together, even when their lives took them in different directions. However, this might be the last, as it seems like Jerry--who's never been tagged--might quit.

The charming but mean-spirited "Tag" is directed by Jeff Tomsic with a screenplay by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen, and based on a Wall Street Journal article by Russell Adams called "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It" that profiled a real group of guys who played an elaborate game of tag through the years. Though cast with a game, talented group of comic actors, honestly - and quite unsurprisingly - there's not much to it, and much of what there isn't that funny, either.

What hurts the film most outside of this is the fact that none of the characters are really all that sympathetic; Helms is typecast as the uptight nerd, while Hamm, Johnson and Renner can do douchebag in their sleep. The closest to the voice of reason is Burris's character, who likes to add asides and corrections to most of the guys' conversations.

What could've ended this much sooner is a healthy "grow up" and a few choruses of the Oscar-winning "Let It Go." There are a handful of genuinely funny scenes, but regardless of whether you are it or not, "Tag" is something you're better off skipping.