Chick Flick Picks: Laggies
Men have been getting the arrested-development-leads-to-comedic-results treatment for years now, which is what makes Laggies such a breath of fresh air. In Keira Knightley’s Megan, women finally get a cinematic representation of someone we’ve all known or even been—that late 20s girl whose extended adolescence is not just a pit stop but a lifestyle.
Laggies opens with footage of Megan’s prom night, and more than a decade later, she’s still friends with the same group and dating the same guy (Mark Webber), only now she has to watch those friends pass the typical mile-markers of adulthood while she sits on the sidelines, torn between inertia and a yearning for some unknown other. In the meantime, she marks time with a sign-spinning gig at the office of her dad, who is the only person in her life not pushing her to pick a career already. Megan’s chance encounter with 16-year-old Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) results in an unlikely friendship and an even more unlikely living situation as Megan soon finds herself crashing with Annika and her divorced divorce-lawyer dad (Sam Rockwell).
Director Lynn Shelton was the perfect person to shepherd first-time screenwriter Andrea Seigel’s script, having helmed other successful indie films featuring protagonists who are also stuck, whether stuck in grief (Your Sister’s Sister), outgrown friendships (Humpday) or old family dynamics (Touchy Feely). Shelton has a proven track record of getting natural performances out of actors, and Knightley is funnier here and more relaxed than we’ve ever seen her (although Short Term 12‘s Kaitlyn Dever stole every scene she was in). And while I firmly believe that Sam Rockwell could have chemistry with a brick, his charm here is boundless.
Examining why we allow certain people and situations to persist in our lives after we’ve outgrown them may not be a revelation, but Laggies manages to make Megan’s journey feel at once familiar and entirely fresh.
Laggies is now playing in Austin at the Regal Arbor.