Tuesday 3 January 2017

Movie Review: Laggies (2014)

A romantic comedy set in the world of aimless adults who have failed to launch, Laggies (also known as Say When) lives down to its heroine's ethos and never gets going.

Ten years after graduating from high school, Megan (Keira Knightley) still has no job, no direction in life, and is not yet married to her high school sweetheart Anthony (Mark Webber). With Megan's best friend Allison (Ellie Kemper) tying the knot, Anthony gathers up the courage to propose but Megan cannot commit, and things get worse when she catches her father (Jeff Garlin) cheating on her mother.

Megan meets teenager Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) and the two become unlikely friends. Instead of attending a self-help seminar, Megan decides to hide out at Annika's house for a week to reset her life's priorities. She meets Annika's single dad Craig (Sam Rockwell), a caustic divorce lawyer, and gradually a relationship develops between them, complicating Megan's friendship with Annika and her supposed commitment to Anthony.

Directed by Lynn Shelton, written by Andrea Seigel and set in Seattle, Laggies is a mundane affair, far from offering anything new to the world of romantic comedies, and more tedious than most in portraying an aimless protagonist waiting for the world to happen around her. With lies and alcohol as trigger points for most of what happens in her life, Megan is generally unlikable, and Keira Knightley's over-animated performance does not help. The concept of an adult hiding out in a teenager's bedroom as an escape from life stretches the bounds of what is cute even for this genre.

The better moments arrive courtesy of Sam Rockwell having fun as an acerbic lawyer cross-examining a stowaway in his daughter's bedroom, and Chloë Grace Moretz delivering another promising performance as a teenager charting her tentative course into the world of adulthood and not necessarily admiring all the behaviour she observes.

Laggies meanders along to the requisite resolution, everything patched up superficially to justify the sappy ending, although this is one case where thanks to the rampant immaturity on display it's easy to imagine arguments and separations soon after the credits fade.

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