We know that truth can be stranger than fiction, right? It can also be sillier, as the shenanigans that transpire in this lowbrow lad-comedy reveal. If it weren’t based on actual events, you’d be forgiven for thinking Tag was conceived by a bunch of screenwriters after way too many beers.

“You don’t stop playing because you get older, you get older because you stop playing.” That’s the philosophy behind five adult friends playing the eponymous childhood game on an annual basis for the last 30 years. Every May these big kids drop everything to chase each other across the country, although this time there’s a motive behind the madness beyond staying young at heart.

Jerry (Jeremy Renner), now a successful fitness guru, has managed to avoid being tagged for the last three decades, making him the nemesis of competitive mates Hoagie (Ed Helms), Callahan (Jon Hamm), Randy (Jake Johnson) and Sable (Hannibal Buress).

When news of Jerry’s impending wedding day reaches them, they seize the opportunity for an ambush, resulting in an onslaught of stupid slapstick, gags that mostly fall flat, and a couple of dark moments that feel like they don’t belong (but it’s a true story, hey).

The ensemble cast is the film’s saving grace. Helms continues his streak as the Dwayne Johnson of blokey comedies, lifting lame material with his affable persona, while Hamm and Renner have a lot of fun behaving like Stooges. And an unrecognizable Brian Dennehy, as Randy’s bong-smoking dad, is an unexpected bonus.

Pitched squarely at The Hangover and Wedding Crashers crowd, this rambunctious bit of boys club buffoonery also manages to squeeze in Isla Fisher as Helms’s feisty wife, as well as Annabelle Wallis as a Wall Street Journal reporter who tags along for the ride – and the story, which made the paper in January 2013.

Tag begins promisingly but quickly runs out of puff, just like its players.

In cinemas: June 14, 2018
Starring: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher
Directed by: Jeff Tomsic