“Laggies” review



by Jeff Boudreaux

This year appears to be the year of Keira Knightley’s reemergence. From her delightful performance in John Carney’s “Begin Again” to her equally wonderful turn in Lynn Shelton’s “Laggies,” it looks like she’s found her niche once again in adult “coming of age” comedies.

“Laggies” features Knightley as Megan, a 28 year old Seattleite with a master’s degree, yet she twirls a sign for her father’s tax business. She has a boyfriend named Anthony (Mark Webber) and a group of “friends”, but none of these people represent anyone that she can actually relate to. When Anthony decides to propose at a mutual friend’s wedding, Megan makes up a story about a seminar on Orcas Island and decides to get out of Dodge for a week in order to clear her head. This ironically excites Anthony, as he thinks her life might actually be headed in the right direction.

While shopping she happens to meet teenage Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz), who implores her to purchase alcohol for her and her friends. Remembering that she was once in Annika’s shoes, she decides to comply which initiates a friendship between the two females. Annika invites Megan to lay low at her house, under the nose of her lawyer father Craig (Sam Rockwell). The charade doesn’t last very long and Craig is initially suspicious of Megan’s motives. However, the two connect rather quickly and after the week is over, Megan must make certain decisions about life and love.

One of the things about “Laggies” that really works is its casting. As Annika, Chloe Grace Moretz is fun to watch, blending seamlessly in her conversations with either Megan or her best friend Misty, played by Kaitlyn Dever. Of course, this film really belongs to the adults. As I mentioned earlier, I just can’t get enough of Keira Knightley’s characterizations these days. Under the right direction, she has proven that she is most certainly an ‘A’ list actress.

Sam Rockwell’s performance of Craig is just the latest in a long line of downright cool characters this guy excels at playing. He may be the most natural actor of his generation, period. His chemistry with Knightley is spot-on, driven by the sense of humor that have come to make his on-screen characters endearing. With that being said, as the other man in Megan’s life, indie-actor Mark Webber holds his own in his scenes with Knightley.

Independent filmmaker Lynn Shelton has made a career out of adult-oriented comedies, directing such fare as “Humpday,” “Your Sister’s Sister,” and “Touchy Feely.” While those films had their respective moments, “Laggies” represents the crowning achievement of this talented director’s career. Cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke has worked with the director on several features, this time employing the beautiful backdrop of Seattle. One thing that surprised me is the fact that this was actually filmed there, and not in Vancouver as has been the case in movies for as long as I can remember.

“Laggies” is a story of missed opportunities and unsure futures, a real-life topic that is all too familiar to many people. While this is a comedy, albeit a clever one, it is also thought provoking. I can’t help but think that this type of movie is the perfect bridge between independent and mainstream comedy. One can only hope that more filmmakers strive to make their audiences laugh while having them partake in valuable lessons learned by the characters onscreen.

*** (three out of four stars)



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