Laggies is an uneven drama-comedy but it propped up and propelled by a charming performance from the cute and adorable Keira Knightley proving she can excel in spite of any issues with the screenplay, in this case it’s just not a memorable story. Sam Rockwell also works well opposite Knightley and although she’s nothing overly noteworthy, Chloe Grace Moretz turns in a passable performance.
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy, Romance
Lionsgate | R – 99 min. – $24.99 | February 10, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
I’ve often said that there are times an actor or actress can overcome a bad or so-so script and with Laggies, Keira Knightley, albeit sporting a questionable American accent, turned a forgettable drama-comedy into an entertaining affair.
The story centers on Megan Burcher (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY), a 28-year-old (or so) woman who seems to still be living in the past. Her best friends are pregnant, getting married or opening their own businesses while she languishes relying on her CPA father (JEFF GARLIN) for a job holding a sign outside his business. She does live with her boyfriend from high school, Anthony (MARK WEBBER), and despite encouraging her to take steps toward a future, she instead is content with laying around and avoiding any decision-making.
After she bails a wedding reception for one of her best friends (ELLIE KEMPER of “The Office” fame), and witnessing her father during a, ahem, sexual situation with her best friend’s mother – not to mention Anthony’s attempts to propose – Megan escapes and goes to a local grocery store where she’s approached by Annika (CHLOË GRACE MORETZ) asking if she could buy beer, and other assorted alcoholic beverages, for her and her friends. Having herself been helped as a teen, she buys the booze for the teens and begins hanging out with them, reliving her teen years hearing about boys and riding a skateboard. The two make an instant connection and before parting, Annika gives her a cell phone (because she has a lot of them and it’s a movie).
Back in the real world, with her boyfriend worried as to where she had been and pissing off her newly married best friend, not being in any of the wedding photos, for some odd reason she and Anthony are asked by the pregnant bestie if the couple would be their child’s godparents. They say sure… and why the hell not? Later, and to get away from everyone, she tells Anthony she’s going to attend a weeklong career seminar and on the road out of town, receives a call from Annika who needs Megan’s help. She wants Megan to pose as her mother for a parent-teacher conference concerning Annika’s school problems, Megan once again obliges despite she barely looks 25, though the teacher doesn’t call her out.
But in spite of this kind of ridiculous, yet fun, scene, Megan succeeds in getting Annika out of trouble and she invites Megan over to her house. Annika’s father, Craig (SAM ROCKWELL), unexpectedly comes home where he’s introduced to Megan. Later, when Megan and Annika return home from a party and after curfew, in his den, he more or less interrogates Megan who, mostly anyway, comes clean as to her situation though lies about her home life and, apparently because he’s a good judge of character, allows Megan to stay in the guest bedroom for the week.
Settled in, and now inserted in their lives, Megan becomes not only a friend to Annika but almost a mother with Annika’s own mother abandoning her and her father years earlier. Together, they just have a fun old time with Megan being able to re-live her teens years through Annika but her old life is waiting much to her chagrin and complicating matters, she begins to fall for Craig where upon I’m certain her lies won’t catch up with her (having a boyfriend, being engaged and a bit older than she claimed).
The script for Laggies, written by Andrea Seigel (debut) and helmed by Lynn Shelton (Touchy Feely), has its issues primarily with a plot that progresses a bit too quickly, which leads to a rushed ending, but generally it’s kind of forgettable. The idea of a mid-mid-life crisis is certainly interesting and in this age when you have 25+ year olds still living at home, with little job opportunities or motivation, is actually timely; yet the execution didn’t quite work.
What does work, however, is Keira Knightley. This isn’t an award-worthy performance by any stretch, but she manages to combine cuteness, hotness and vulnerability in one take early on as she dances and twirls that sign mentioned earlier. That one scene captures every essence of that character. It’s no surprise as the drama-comedy combo is right in Knightley’s wheelhouse dating back to 2003’s Love Actually, though at least there she’s able to use her natural British accent rather putting on an American one which is admittedly spotty (as it was in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit).
Outside of Sam Rockwell, the supporting cast is mostly fillers. Chloë Grace Moretz has charm but she more or less is playing the same type of character seen in Hick, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and a few others and here she’s serviceable and at least shares a friendly chemistry opposite Knightley. As for Rockwell, in his few scenes, as he doesn’t enter the picture until halfway through, have some good scenes with Knightley as well.
All in all, Laggies had the potential to be great but in the end is merely OK but well worth checking out if only for Keira Knightley and Sam Rockwell’s performances.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside is the redemption code for the Digital Copy (UV only).
Audio Commentary – Director Lynn Shelton sits down for an informative track chatting about her time working on the film and with the actors.
Lagging On with Lynn Shelton (8:46; HD) is a featurette on the director from the perspective of the cast and thoughts from the director herself, interspersed with footage from the film.
Shooting Seattle: The Look of Laggies (6:01; HD) – This covers the shooting locations in and around Seattle and what the city had to offer the production.
Deleted Scenes (9:31; HD) – We get six scenes that were trimmed or removed and although nice, didn’t have much to offer to the final film.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Laggies drifts onto Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture, not surprisingly, looks quite good with sharp detail levels and fine color balance throughout. There didn’t appear to be any major or significant flaws like artifacting, aliasing or banding.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The provided 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t overly dynamic or anything but efficient. Dialogue levels tend to be crisp and clear while ambient noises and the limited score/soundtrack make up the bulk of the front and rear channels. It might not be overly impressive, for the genre it’s what I’d call “good enough.”
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Laggies is an uneven drama-comedy but it propped up and propelled by a charming performance from the cute and adorable Keira Knightley proving she can excel in spite of any issues with the screenplay, in this case it’s just not a memorable story. Sam Rockwell also works well opposite Knightley and although she’s nothing overly noteworthy, Chloe Grace Moretz turns in a passable performance. The Blu-ray released by Lionsgate is relatively basic but it does include two so-so features, a selection of deleted footage and a decent commentary track.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.