Opening Friday, October 24 in Los Angeles (and other select cities) is the smart, quirky and well-cast comedy, “Laggies.” Starring Keira Knightley as an adrift 28-year-old, and Chloë Grace Moretz as the high schooler she befriends, director Lynn Shelton crafts a relatable social parable that highlights the comedy and pathos for those who are directionless.
Shelton, who has written and directed such sharply observed pieces such as “Your Sister’s Sister” and “Humpday” embraces the work of another writer, Andrea Seigel to great effect. Transporting what had originally been a Southern California story to Shelton’s hometown of Seattle and working with her longtime crew, Shelton demonstrates further why she’s one of the top female auteurs working today.
“Laggies” begins with keen insight into high school life, including relationships and studies all gleaned through a prism of being a decade older. Megan, (Knightley) is aimless – although having a higher degree, at 28, she still temps and twirls signs for her CPA dad (Jeff Garlin). Megan’s dad is easy on his girl; Megan’s mom is not. Then there’s Megan’s boyfriend, Anthony (Mark Webber), who Megan lives with and has been dating since high school. It always takes just one friend to get married or have a baby (or both), before the adult dominos of life begin to fall. Such is the case for Megan.
Deciding not to wait any longer, Anthony asks Megan to marry him. All of this, plus her lack of career causes a few panic moments and soon an out of town self-help seminar turns into a reason to escape to get her head together.
Enter 16-year-old Annika (Moretz) and her friends who previously coerced Megan to buy them some beer, a semi-rite of passage for Megan. One thing leads to another, and soon Megan is hanging out and hiding at Annika’s house for a week as she tries to sort out her life, while explaining to Annika’s dad, (Sam Rockwell) that’s she’s not some crazy lady.
“Laggies” is an infectious film. Its cast is top-notch and all have terrific chemistry. It’s fun to see the characters interact with one another. For Knightley too, it’s refreshing to see her in a contemporary comedy that brings to mind earlier performances like “Bend It Like Beckham” or “Love, Actually.” Moretz’s star continues to shine and she certainly holds her own against Knightley and the always talented Rockwell.
Although the fall is littered with the serious art house films, “Laggies” is a bit of nice counterprogramming. It may not be remembered during awards season, but for viewers wanting to catch a quirky, quarter-life crisis, charmer, “Laggies” hits the mark.
Filmmaker event: Director Lynn Shelton and actor Jeff Garlin will appear at the ArcLight Cinema Hollywood on Friday, October 24 at the 7:15 p.m. show and Saturday, October 25 at the 5:45 p.m. show; and at the Landmark Theatre on Saturday, October 25 at the 7:20 p.m. show.
“Laggies” is 100 minutes, Rated R (for language some sexual references and teen partying) and opens October 24 in Los Angeles at the ArcLight Hollywood and Landmark Theatre.