Jerry’s wedding, they decide, is the perfect venue in order to trap him, leading to a series of escalating, madcap exchanges. They are followed in this endeavor by a Journal reporter (Annabelle Wallis), who apparently is able to drop everything and flit around the country at a moment’s notice. As they say, nice work if you can get it.
Making his movie debut, director Jeff Tomsic brings considerable energy to the opening installment, as the peculiar rules are explained and Jerry is finally introduced. Possessing a kind of genius at avoiding being tagged, there’s even a “Sherlock Holmes” riff as he appraises the situation, going inside his head as he figures out a means of escaping.
Hamm and Renner clearly appear to relish sinking their teeth into comedy, while Buress’s character is especially quirky, giving too much thought to things like Maury Povich’s TV show. Hogan’s wife (Isla Fisher) is also every bit as obsessed with the game as her husband, and along with Leslie Bibb, as Jerry’s soon-to-be bride; and Rashida Jones, as a former high-school crush, let women join in the silliness of what’s otherwise a men-will-be-boys affair.
Warner Bros. might have picked a good window to release the film, positioning it as a raunchier counterweight to “The Incredibles 2.” (Although the movie carries an “R” rating, that’s almost entirely for language, as well as the Johnson character’s persistent pot smoking.)
“Tag” isn’t without its own kind of highs, but it’s too labored and repetitive — including its “we grow old because we stop playing” message — to consistently connect.
The closing credits do gain a lift from featuring clips of the actual guys, offering a sense of the movie’s playful underpinnings. It’s a taste of a documentary version of this story, frankly, that might have been better than this mostly hit-miss Hollywood-ized version.
“Tag” opens June 15 in the U.S. It’s rated R.