I will begin by stating that my partner, David, did not like this film. But, in fairness to the cast and crew, he was more concerned about missing the Monday Night Football game than sitting through a screening about a 20-something who can't come to grips with adulthood.
Having declared all of that, I personally enjoyed "Laggies", though I did not love it as much as director Lynn Shelton's films written by her. "Laggies" is written by Andrea Seigel, who has already penned three novels, but "Laggies" is her first produced screenplay. Growing up in Southern California, a "laggie" is a person who is aimless --- existing with no direction in life.
In "Laggies", the over-educated and under-performing individual who fits the moniker is Megan Birch (Keira Knightley). She twirls a sign on the roadside to promote her father, Ed's (Jeff Garling) accounting business in Seattle where she grew up. Megan is still hanging around with her high school friends, who have moved on with their lives --- getting married, having children --- and she lives with her long-time boyfriend, Anthony Milton (Mark Webber).
When Anthony suddenly proposes, Megan freaks out and runs away for a week to give herself time to think. She concocts a story of losing her apartment and ends up at the home of Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), a 16-year-old who lives with her father, Craig (Sam Rockwell), a divorced lawyer.
Shelton, who wrote and directed "Your Sister's Sister" and "Humpday", is a much better writer than Seigel. I wish she had written this screenplay instead. Seigel has flashes of brilliance, but, alas, too much silliness is incorporated into "Laggies",
Knightley and Moretz are well-suited for their roles as buddies, despite their age difference. "Laggies" is at its best when the two of them are on screen. In one scene, Annika begs Megan to show up at her school and pretend to be her mother --- a tad absurd, yes, but amusing.
But then Megan actually takes Annika to visit her real mother (Gretchen Mol), who abandoned her and her father years before. It's a good, strong scene, cementing the relationship between Megan and Annika.
Initially, the pairing of Knightley and Rockwell seemed off, but their chemistry makes it work. Rockwell is such a great actor, and he plays Craig effortlessly. I truly enjoyed his performance, it adds a great deal to the film.
Admittedly, there are a few stinky moments --- the engagement of Megan and Anthony --- their breakup --- the prom scene --- to name a few, but "Laggies" is still an enjoyable film. Do not pay any attention to what David writes.
Opinion: Wait for DVD
Director Lynn Shelton had an indie hit in 2012 with "Your Sister's Sister". It helped that she also wrote the script herself. "Laggies" is only the second film she has directed that was written by someone else, in this case Andrea Seigel. Unfortunately, "Laggies" has none of the charm of that movie, and it also doesn't have Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt or Rosemarie DeWitt.
That's not to say that the actors in "Laggies" are a bunch of incompetents. Keira Knightley is totally adorable with her smile and American accent, and Chloë Grace Moretz is certainly an established talent at her tender age. As for Sam Rockwell, I've always thought he was underrated. In fact, he was deserving of a Supporting Oscar nomination last year for the Steve Carell comedy "The Way Way Back". So what's wrong with "Laggies"?
I'll leave the synopsis to Jeanne --- she liked the film a lot more than I. Let's just say that Ms. Seigel is a first-time writer and it shows. The movie is simplistic, predictable and trite. It's pure fluff.
The initial meeting between Megan (Knightley) and Annika (Moretz) is contrived and unoriginal. Annika and her under-age friends need someone to buy beer and wine for them, so they approach Megan as she walks into a liquor store. This chance meeting evolves into the improbable friendship between a 16-year-old and a post-college age woman for the sole purpose of Megan meeting Annika's father, Craig (Rockwell).
Also, the tired plot of an engaged individual, hesitant to go through with the marriage, who meets someone else that sweeps her/him off their feet, is, well, tired. The fact that you can see it coming with Megan and Craig is one thing. But when it lacks any true emotion or poignancy, not to mention real laughs, that's another. Early on I knew I wouldn't care much for any of these characters. That's a death knell for a film like this.
Jeanne will say I wasn't invested in the film because I would have preferred watching Monday Night Football. That's not entirely true, besides I knew the movie would be over in time to see the second half.
Opinion: Very Mild Wait for DVD