Tag ★★ 1/2  

First off, this is not a remake of Tag: The Assassination Game, the low-budget action thriller that was a staple on HBO back in the ’80s. However, director Jeff Tomsic’s new comedy does share a plot that hinges on grown men who refuse to act their age. And while no one is murdered in this new film, some of the violent takedowns between friends have been photographed to look extremely painful for maximum comedic effect. Loosely based on a Wall Street Journal article entitled “It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It,” the movie follows five friends in their 40s who’ve been spending the month of May engaging in the same childhood game for three decades. They may be grown-ups with adult responsibilities, but as the movie spells out through on-the-nose dialogue, this annual rite of spring serves to “keep us in each other’s lives!” Tomsic, a television veteran making a jump to the big screen, has assembled a terrific cast of middle-aged men to play the old friends, including Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner, who really seem to be enjoying their time together despite a script that isn’t quite up to their talents. Still, a running gag about the fitness instructor (Renner) who’s never been “it” provides the film with enough fuel to keep things interesting; he’s so invested in the game that he’s failed to invite his buddies to his wedding for fear of being tagged at the altar. But, taking a page from Wedding Crashers, these lifelong pals would do anything to infiltrate the nuptials. Silly and slight, Tag’s still funny and sweet. (At Assembly Row, Boston Common, Fenway, Seaport, Somerville, South Bay and in the suburbs.)

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