A shift from predictable flicks packed with spontaneity and ridge cinematography, Lynn Shelton has found herself at the cool kid’s table with a box office love story, sans vampires.
A multimillion-dollar movie with a hint of Shelton’s familiar low budget flair, Laggies is this year’s depressingly modern spin on the cliché coming of age tale.
Cue the effortlessly floating Megan, played by Keira Knightly—a late twenties screw up trying too hard to find her place in a post-graduate’s hell on earth. Shackled to the prim and proper streets of her suburban Seattle confides, Megan maintains a disturbingly convincing teenage façade trapped in an overly prepubescent nearly thirty-year-old body.
Not quite ready to face reality, Megan stays trapped in a stagnant relationship with high school sweetheart Anthony (Mark Webber). She can’t quite put her finger on whether or not she’s surpassed the high school butterflies or if she is afraid to explore a life outside of her distorted reality neglect of change.
Megan has found herself stuck in a rut, still BFFs with her high school crew—at the hand of Anthony, and babied by her cheating father (Jeff Garlin). Attending her best friend’s (Bridesmaid’sEllie Kemper) wedding as the slacker maid of honor, Megan gets slapped in the face with a overwhelming amount of back to back revelations that force her to flee the scene and shack up with a new friend half her age, Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her puppy like single father, Craig (Sam Rockwell) who is looking for love in all the wrong places.
Megan meets Annika and her equally tortured friends in the parking lot of the local grocery store, escaping her past and embarking on a reality that might be a bit too heavy for a whopping 100 minutes and a box of Snowcaps.
As she slowly becomes the cool, older friend slash creepy thirty year old searching for salvation as her new friend’s future stepmother, Megan creates a painfully awkward journey for herself that results in nothing shy of the predictable romcom ending (a bit too reminiscent of a late-90s Drew Barrymore movie).
Maybe Shelton’s knack for improvisation could have been a saving grace for a cast full of dollar signs and a subpar script too predictable and generic for anyone looking for something remotely stimulating. Regardless, Knightley’s performance was short of her obvious talents—save her teenage years as the awkwardly tomboyish Juliette in Bend it Like Beckham. If this is what Shelton is pitching as a “different” Knightley performance, save it Shelton. You could have saved millions on an unwarranted trek through Hollywood’s elite.
“Laggies” -1 ½ stars
MPAA rating: R (for language, drug use, some sexual material and teen partying)
Running time: 100 minutes
Opens: October 24, 2014