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by Jordan Canahai
Being a white male in my mid-twenties who's spent the better part of my post-high school existence feeling aimless, uncertain, and overwhelmed by the new responsibilities of adulthood, it's fitting that Laggies, the new coming of age romantic-comedy from director Lynn Shelton—starring Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Sam Rockwell—would be the first film I review for Artvoice. It just happens to concern the misadventures of a white female in her mid-twenties who's spent the better part of her post-high school existence feeling aimless, uncertain, and overwhelmed by the new responsibilities of adulthood. The character Knightley plays (Meghan), could be the poster child for 20-something millennials suffering a quarter-life crisis; content to rely heavily on her parents for help, doubtful of what career to pursue, and even less enthusiastic about marriage and children.
When her high school sweetheart and longtime boyfriend, Anthony (Mark Webber), attempts to propose to Meghan at her best friend's wedding, she flees the scene and by chance begins an unusual friendship with 16 year-old Annika (Moretz). While living at her house under the guise of being out of town at a career seminar, Meghan's journey is one of personal discovery as she grows closer to Annika and her single father, the cynical divorce lawyer, Craig (the always impeccable Rockwell). For the first hour or so I was really digging Laggies. Knightley is a winning and charming leading lady, and Moretz continues to show talent beyond her years playing a confused teenager with a very believable sensitivity. Rockwell once again proves he's one of our best actors, showcasing his wry sense of humor and charisma in equal measure, and the rest of the supporting cast (including a small role from Jeff Garlin as Meghan's philandering father) is also strong.
All this makes the final act of Laggies all the more disappointing, however, as Andrea Seigel's script—which up until now has proven surprisingly smart and witty given the well-tread territory being covered—falls into formula and cliché as it resolves Meghan's journey in rather trite and predictable fashion. Director Lynn Shelton, whose previous efforts include Hump Day and Your Sister's Sister, is a director of considerable talent, making films that are smart and empathetic from a female perspective, but she's let down by the screenplay's ending, which doesn't do much with the ideas presented in the first act. None of this is to say Laggies is an outright failure. It succeeds fine as light entertainment, however given the strength of the cast, as well as the way similar themed films and television shows have handled this kind of material in recent years, one can't help but feel Laggies comes up a little short.
Watch the trailer for Laggies
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