Sunday, November 30, 2014

Laggies: Movie Review

Comedy and romance and adults growing up.
Megan (Keira Knightley) is approaching 30, but doesn't seem to have her life figured out the way her friends do – but that's because her friends are naming their baby girl Juppiter and her boyfriend think it's okay to propose at her friend's wedding. In addition, her father's having an affair, and everybody's encouraging her to attend a career seminar where the most important part of professional success is figuring out what animal you are. 2014

Directed by: Lynn Shelton

Screenplay by: Andrea Seigel

Starring: Keira Knightley, Sam Rocwell, and Chloe Grace Moretz

It's a quarter-life crisis dramedy, but it's also a romantic comedy, and the additional genre makes it more entertaining and accessible. Laggies is a made up term stemming from lagging behind. As Megan realizes her dissatisfaction with her current point in life, she runs into a group of teenagers wanting her to buy them beer. She agrees, but is also very intrigued by the possibility of just living in the moment and by the realization that she understands everything that they're going through. High school is much easier in retrospect and when it's somebody else going through it.
Megan's life of lies and the film's many moments of comedy gold start when Megan decides to move in with new-found friend, 16-year-old Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz). Megan can actually help her and can feel like she's being useful. Annika is the daughter of a stressed-out single lawyer and a mother who abandoned them. The introducion of her father played by Sam Rockwell and all of his subsequent scenes are absolutely hilarious, and the inevitability of a romantic pairing between Rockwell's Craig and Knightley's Megan is very welcome. Their chemistry is great but their comedic chemistry is even better. Following a general rule for all movies, Sam Rockwell just makes everything better and funnier.

Photos courtesy of VVS Films.
The movie's smart script comes through in the general parallels and in-between-ness that comes up in a lot of scenes. Megan went to school to be a therapist but hasn't gotten a job yet because she feels like a fraud. It's such an accurate representation but is rarely communicated in that way. In what is presumably a selfish move for Megan, she abandons her life and her friends for a week to hang out with a high school kid. Little does Megan know, and so subtly the film shows it, but her friendship with Annika proves to be very useful in her training as a therapist.

Echoing the in-between-ness that Megan feels in her life, She is half-way between Annika's age and Craig's age. Mature enough to help lead Annika in positive directions in her life, but not mature enough to be able to take much responsibility for herself or anybody else. But the adult in Megan starts coming through when Craig refuses to treat her as a child.

The beginning of Laggies can seem a little directionless and not as funny as it should be, but the story, comedy and romance pick up full steam when Rockwell appears. The film and Keira Knightly both do a fantastic job of accurately representing that in-between time in life and being a laggie.
Best of 2014

Similar Titles:

Obvious Child (2014) - Surpassing the romantic comedy genre with hilarity.

Begin Again (2013) - Straddles the line between indie and Hollywood well; delivering a feel-good, enjoyable story.

Camp Takota (2014) - Go back to camp and find three funny and entertaining women.

The Skeleton Twins (2014) - Establishing selfishness before their more interesting layers, the despondent skeleton twins are more lifeless than they should be.