Tag (2018): ‘The Shotgun Comedy based on a Story of Friendship’ – A Film Review



In the Wall Street Journal, an article appeared about a group of men who regularly play tag and have done for 23 years. Though Tag is perceived as a childish game, it’s kept them with a strong bond much like sports can and with the energy of the inner child. Tag would then be the film about their story. Brought to us by TV director Jeff Tomsic and starring notable names that have a tendency to just pop up in the side-lines of films like Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye in the MCU), Ed Helms (The Hangover), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World) and Isla Fisher(Now You See Me, Rise of the Guardians). Together in an assemble cast for this comedy film.


‘Shotgun Comedies’

Much in the same way that Yes Man was seemingly a ‘shotgun comedy’ (A comedy which is a concept only but with star actors thrown in), but was based on real events made into a film, Tag has the feeling of an underdone comedy. Whilst, also being similar to Ted, in that there can also be heart-warming moments. Despite these similarities, Tag falls short of both. The comedy warrants a light-hearted tone whilst the dedication of the cast keeps it entertaining but this never brings it to a full laugh. Like many ‘shotgun comedies’, the film can be very performance led, with few jokes being integrated into the style of the film – save for some slow-motion sequences and heavy references to Predator.


Falling Short?

To say the story of the Tag is anything painful would be far too harsh. What we’re left with works more as a run of the mill drama with a light-hearted touch. The story that it’s based on is used superficially for a story of holding on to friendship and the inner child. It passes the time quite admirably but lacks any distinct touch, comedically or stylistically, within the film. Perhaps a note about the mixed tone of the film comes with the plot points that are almost too dark to be taken as a joke; and characters feel this as well as the audience – it’s almost self-aware of this. SPOILERS: A characters illness or even the miscarriage can’t be played for laughs, but almost give the film a sense of realism that feels more grounded than a straight comedy. Not really a criticism but seems to indicate the films tone as a drama more than a comedy. END OF SPOILERS.




Ultimately, Tag is harmless. A perfectly acceptable seat in the lands of escapism and dreams, lying perhaps just above the average bar. Tag won’t be breaking any ground or perhaps even remembered too well; unless for big fans of the central cast. They hold the film together after all. Tag is in the real (despite one or two almost jarring moments SPOILERS Being hit with a tree. END OF SPOILERS) and firmly rooted in the story of friendship between a group of people that the film only has a surface level understanding of.



Jerry (Jeremy Renner), an undefeated Tag player, is getting married and therefore retiring from Tag. His friends, however, do not want to let him retire undefeated.





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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Jurassic World (d. Colin Trevorrow USA 2015)

Now You See Me (d. Louis Leterrier France/USA 2013)

Predator (d. John McTiernan USA 1987)

Rise of the Guardians (d. Peter Ramsay USA 2012)

Tag (d. Jeff Tomsic USA 2018)

Ted (d. Seth MacFarlane USA 2012)

The Hangover (d. Todd Phillips USA/Germany 2009)

Yes Man (d. Peyton Reed USA/UK 2008)



Further Reading



Official Site

Interview with Jeff Tomsic

Interview with the Cast

Interview with the Cast 2

Behind the Scenes

Funny Moments

Nostalgia Featurette


If you liked this…

Deadpool 2 (2018): ‘’Marvels Loving Self Parody Sequel’ – A Film Review

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017): ‘The Game Film’ – A Film Review

The Disaster Artist (2017): ‘The Good and the Bad’ – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….


Tag (d. Jeff Tomsic USA 2018)


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