“You can’t keep putting aside what you want for some imaginary future.”
Laggies is the perfect example of why film’s must have a point. It reminded me a lot of the stoner you’d often find at college parties, sitting alone on the couch, carefully trying to refill their bowl while conversations swirled above their head. That kind of person is content and happy to be doing just what they are. As is Laggies, a decently made but terribly scripted film that refuses to stand up and engage with its audience. Also, how do you make the title an uncommon slang word and not tell us what it even means (Director Lynn Shelton wanted to change it, but the screenwriter assured her it was common vernacular…she was wrong). Substitute in a less talented and star-studded ensemble and I wouldn’t have even thought twice about watching this.
Unlike the rest of her grown up and matured circle of friends, Allison (Keira Knightley) is a little behind the curve. She has a college degree but chooses to avoid job hunts to be a part-time sign girl for her dad’s CPA business. Once her dedicated high school sweetheart Anthony (Mark Webber) proposes to her at another friend’s wedding, Allison panics, running away from confrontation and decision-making. Asked by a group of young teens to buy them alcohol, Allison obliges, and spends the night drinking away with kids 10 years her minor rather than returning to he best friend’s wedding. If the plot sounds dumb to you, it’s probably because it is.
Allison stays with one of the high schoolers named Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) for a week to further escape her problems. A lot of nothing happens, and cliché after cliché is used. Laggies seems to say that we all always carry a childish and youthful side to us no matter how hard we try to pretend otherwise, like Annika’s lawyer father played by Sam Rockwell. But instead of solving the puzzling equation of being a Twixter, of breaking through the barrier between adolescence and adulthood, it sits back and basks in the self-produced anxiety and stress. As we see through Allison though, it’s not an enticing line of duty, and she’s more frustrating than she is endearing. There’s a difference between being truly indecisive and being careless/uninterested. Allison falls into the latter and is not an appealing lead character.
Without this cast, including those already named as well as Jeff Garlin, Kaitlyn Dever (an absolute scene stealer), and Ellie Kemper, Laggies would be an easy film to suggest passing altogether. You can’t help but feel let down by this movie. There are a lot of brutally honest truths spread throughout, but as a whole it just doesn’t work. Not that this kind of movie is doomed to fail. Check out Frances Ha, a film dealing with the same unwillingness to grow up, and try to compare this to it. Quality wise Frances Ha is more than in a different time zone, it’s in a whole different galaxy. Mostly though, Laggies doesn’t address what it wants to be. It’s a P.O. Box, a safe for piles of junk mail and a few heartfelt, handwritten postcards. Type Laggies into YouTube and watch the featured clips. Those are the best, and only worthwhile, parts of an otherwise skippable film.
“Treat somebody badly enough you just assume they’ll be happy to let you go.”
Rating: 2 out of 5