In January, 2013, Russell Adams wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal about ten friends who played tag. What made this game different is that it had been going on since they’d been classmates at a prep school in Spokane, Washington, three decades earlier. In March of that year, Adams wrote an update about the guys, and Hollywood showed interest in making a movie based on them. That October, Lee Cowan did a piece for “CBS Sunday Morning” that raised even more interest. The show re-ran the segment last weekend because the movie has come to fruition and is about to open.

“Tag” pares down the ten original men to five, played by Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, and Jeremy Renner. The latter is Jerry, who has never, in all those years, been “it.” But now he’s going to get married, so the other four converge on their target and the game is on. Along the way, they meet a Wall Street Journal reporter who is most definitely not Russell Adams. She’s played by Annabelle Wallis, who is not only Richard Harris’ niece, but also has the distinction of being in two of the biggest flops of 2017 (“The Mummy” and “King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword”). Too bad she doesn’t have much to do in “Tag.” Her character exists solely for exposition purposes, so the guys have someone to explain all the nonsense to.

Isla Fisher gets caught up in the game, too, as the wife of Ed Helms’ character. Fisher was in my Worst Movie Of 2016, “Nocturnal Animals,” but she followed that sorry garbage with the more-light-hearted “Keeping Up With The Joneses,” which also starred Hamm. Both of them are much better served by scripts like this that allow them to be funny on screen, and Fisher has a few great scene-stealing moments in “Tag” that reminded me of her explosive debut in “Wedding Crashers.”

Buress — who deserves credit for being the first comedian to speak out about Bill Cosby raping women — gets the best lines in “Tag” and is building a nice movie resume for himself. Helms plays essentially the same character he did in the “Hangover” movies, while Johnson is pretty one-note as a middle-aged stoner. The supporting cast includes three actresses who are always good: Nora Dunn (who gets a couple of funny scenes as Helms’ mother), Rashida Jones (who shows up as the former love interest of one of the guys), and Leslie Bibb (as Jerry’s fiancé). My favorite bit of casting was seeing Brian Dennehy in a cameo as Johnson’s father, because one of the original tag players is named…Brian Dennehy.

“Tag” is a crowd-pleaser, although there’s one sequence in the middle when the guys chase Jerry off a golf course and into the woods that is not only preposterous but also way too violent for a light comedy — so much so that it took me out of the story for a few minutes as I shook my head. Truth be told, there were a couple of scenes that portrayed Jerry as more of a psychopath than a man having fun with his lifelong friends (Renner is said to have fractured an elbow and wrist during filming).

Fortunately, Jeff Tomsic (in his rookie big screen directorial effort) pulls it back together and delivers a satisfying conclusion. Then he’s smart enough to include footage of the real Tag Brothers catching up with each other — literally.

At the end of the screening I attended, the audience applauded, which is usually an indicator of how well it will do with the rest of the public. I had a good time, too, so I’m giving “Tag” a 7.5 out of 10.

And I’m glad I’m not “it.”