Laggies

| February 22, 2015

How many times have we watched the ‘life journey’ relationship between the adolescent adult-male and mature boy-child play out on screen? Bruce Willis and Spencer Breslin in Disney’s The Kid comes to mind…for some reason. Laggies, starring Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz, seeks to execute this relationship in the female form. Or is that just what we’re expected to think?

Laggies follows Megan and Annika. The former is a late 20-something that just cannot grow up, while the latter is high schooler stunted by the divorce of her parents. After an unexpected proposal from her boyfriend at their friends’ wedding, a confused Megan sneaks away to reflect. She stops at a grocery store where, unexpectedly, she meets Annika. In a fit of nostalgia, Megan buys booze for Annika and ends up drinking with a group of high schoolers for the remainder of the evening. This serendipitous meeting quickly develops into a friendship. In an attempt to further avoid her boyfriend (and the proposal), Megan moves in with Annika and her lonely (single!) father, Craig. And here is where the trouble begins…

Marketing teaches us that movies like Laggies are made with a specific demographic in mind. Namely: females of the 20-3o something age range. Rather than relay on that viewership bloc, Laggies seeks a wider audience by embracing an irreverent path. The characters have been drawn with broad strokes, making empathy an easy emotion to have. This is a trademark of big I independent film. While Laggies is no under-appreciated masterpiece, the film – thankfully – does not conform to expected standards or pander too heavily.

Knightley and Moretz make for a good duo. Knightley’s demur person is balanced by the blithe attitude and smoky voice of Moretz. As mentioned earlier, however, Laggies does not relay on this relationship for entertainment. Rockwell as Craig, the lonely single-father, has rugged charm. Also Moretz’s high school friends, specifically Kaitlyn Dever, are more-than-welcome supporting players.

What is particularly pleasing in Laggies is the screenplay. The writing is witty and filled with more than the expected dime-store philosophy. There is actual evidence of character evolution and transformation in the spoken lines. It is as if novelist and first-time screenwriter Andrea Siegel understood the value of making character actions have compelling consequences. While Laggies is probably not the perfect work that Siegel and director Lynn Shelton were expecting, a future collaboration could only produce better results.

Laggies borders on the comedy-drama spectrum. This, besides the conclusion, are really the only markers that drag the film down to ‘cookie-cutter’ status. This means we are sometimes laughing with the jokes, and sometimes laughing at the contrived plot. Yet, Laggies is – at least – attempting to humbly break away from tradition, and that is better than most.

About the Author:

Daniel currently resides in New York City working as a freelance writer and director. He is a graduate of the Film and Video department of Columbia College, specializing in Italian Neo-realism and French & British New Wave cinema.
Filed in: Video and DVD

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