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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Laggies (2014)


I don’t wanna be told to grow up! Or get a job! Or get married! Or hate my life! Or, okay, it’s not all that bad, dammit!

28-year-old Megan (Keira Knightley) has come to realize that her life isn’t really going anywhere, but nor does she want it to. She’s happy staying with her high school sweetheart (Mark Webber), even if that means that they never get married; she doesn’t care about not really having her own job and just holding up signs for her dad (Jeff Garlin); and she especially doesn’t care about getting hitched and settling down like her best-friend (Ellie Kemper) has just done. But that all hits her head-on when she gets proposed to, finds her dad cheating on her mom, and has a few verbal-spars with her bestie. So, like what any other responsible, full-grown adult would do, Megan decides to run away and ends up hiding out with 17-year-old Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) who says it’s cool for her to chill out at her place, so long as so as her divorced dad (Sam Rockwell) doesn’t get in the way of the fun. But, sooner or later, he does, but here’s the strange thing: It doesn’t bother Megan. Which makes it easy for them to hit it off, which also causes a lot of problems for Megan and the life she’s trying to escape from, yet, has to confront sooner or later.

Basically, this whole premise could be simplified down to being, “growing up is hard to do”, and there’d be nothing wrong with that. Which yes, I know may bother some of those far more thought-provoking, complex individuals out there who want a little bit more meat on their one, but for someone such as myself who just goes to the movies to have a good time, be interested in what I see, believe it all, and most of all, learn a lesson or two in the process, it’s time well-spent.

"Just make sure that you don't get stuck doing pirate movies. Especially not the ones where the lead pretends to be Keith Richards!"

“Just make sure that you don’t get stuck doing pirate movies. Especially not the ones where the lead pretends to be Keith Richards!”

And that’s exactly what Laggies is: Well-time spent. Don’t expect anything else, and you won’t get anything less.

That said, being that this is in fact a film from Lynn Shelton (she’s directing a script from Andrea Seigel), who, in recent years, we’ve all come to know as a very interesting indie director who takes something which looks, on paper, obvious, simple and almost too contrived for its own good, and turns it on its head and makes you expect the absolute unexpected, I can’t help but feel a tad disappointed that this isn’t as deep as I feel it could have gone. Not saying I would have wanted something as deliberately as cloying as Touchy Feely, but maybe something refreshing and breezy along the lines of Your Sister’s Sister, would have been a bit better. But the fact remains, we have a Lynn Shelton movie here on our hands and it’s a lot more polished than we’ve seen her do before.

So, with that, she’s dropped the hand-held cameras, hidden away the natural-lighting, and even let somebody else take over script-writing duties for her, which gives us a slightly mainstream-ish movie. But not mainstream in that it’s going to sell-out loads and loads of crowds, but moreso in the way that Shelton’s name will probably be heard of and/or discussed more because of the larger-amount of people seeing this. Which I’m happy for and hopeful actually happens; Shelton’s been a favorite of mine for quite some time and if this is the movie that gets her name out there out there to some who aren’t already familiar with her enough, then yeah, I’m all down for her “selling out”.

I just hope that she doesn’t make a habit of it.

Anyway, Shelton’s film may not be as deep as some may want it to be, but that’s okay; it’s still pleasant, funny, and smart in the ways that it presents these as-old-as-time coming-of-age themes, and spins them in a way to make them slightly refreshing. Not saying that I didn’t expect our main protagonist to learn some valuable life-lessons about being responsible, growing up, or keeping one’s promises, but the way in which the film presents these small moments, are well-done and surprised me on a few occasions. It’s totally predictable and conventional-as-hell, but if anything, Laggies proves that you can get by those problems by just putting a smile on, wearing your heart on your sleeve, and just trying to laugh it all off.

In fact, that’s exactly how I felt Keira Knightley’s character Megan was: Funny, ditsy, and immature to a fault, while also not caring about what happens to her life next, so long as she doesn’t have to grow up. And while, to some, this may not seem like the kind of character Knightley excels in (with an American accent, no less), it’s a role that actually works for her and her bright, bubbly screen-persona that sometimes shows in movies, yet, has never been utilized as perfectly as it is here. Because while it may have been easy for us to dislike a character as irresponsible and as narrow-minded as Megan, there’s still a feeling that we want to be like her; not care about getting old, or having to conform to certain ideas about being an adult. Yet, the movie never fully sympathizes with her, her actions, or how she can sometimes do certain things that hurt others around her. For that, we care more about her, and whether or not she does actually “grow up” at the end.

Swag doe.

Swag doe.

Same goes for Chloe Grace Moretz’s character, although she’s a bit more standard in that she’s another one of those wild child teenagers that’s sassy, rebellious, and chock full of angst. Not saying Moretz doesn’t do well in this role, because she totally does, it’s just not as rich as I think it could have been (with the exception of an angle the movie throws on us about the character’s not-present mother). But thankfully, to pick up all the pieces is Sam Rockwell who, as usual, is playing his cocky, fast-witted, and constantly lovable-self. Except this time, there’s a bit of a twist on this kind of character: He’s a daddy, with responsibilities. Still though, it’s a role that sees Rockwell using his lovely screen-presence to brighten the mood of any scene and, in ways, even add another heft of dramatic-weight to a scene that’s already full of it. He’s just that talented of an actor that no matter what he does or shows up in, he always makes better.

Please don’t stop doing what you’re doing, Sam. You’re too good at it.

Consensus: Predictable and obvious to a fault, Laggies mostly gets by on its lovely cast, pleasant feel, and relateable themes about growing up, making the right choices when you’re called on to do so, and sometimes, making sure you put somebody else before yourself.

7 / 10 = Rental!! 

Don't worry, Keira. You look great in no matter what you wear.

Don’t worry, Keira. You look great in no matter what you wear.

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

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14 responses to “Laggies (2014)

  1. #peggyatthemovies November 3, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Awful awful movie..I gave it a D- and it barely deserved that..

      • #peggyatthemovies November 10, 2014 at 4:14 am

        well come on.. I don’t know a single mid-late 20’s person who would be like Oh let’s be friends with high schoolers again..and stay at their house..and hook up with their dad.. and go to their prom..with no awkwardness whatsoever..I mean…no matter what what existential crisis was going on in their lives..with no character chemistry whatsoever..hmmm.. yeah my review summed it up better..but that’s the jist..

  2. JustMeMike November 3, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Nice review Dan.
    I am with Dan on this one which I saw last month at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Marin County. As Dan says – the film is a feel good, funny, and entertaining piece of cinema. It doesn’t aim too high, and if you want serious and meaningful, this isn’t the film to see. But it does entertain and Knightley does a great job playing a person without goals.

    We even arrived at the same rating. Dan gave it 7 out of 10, and I rated it at 3.5 out of 5.

  3. Kristin November 7, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Yet another film on my want-to-see list! Perhaps I’ll have to take off work one day and just see like 10 movies in theaters. Haha. Good review, Dan!

  4. sidekickreviews November 7, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Between Keira Knightley & Chloe Grace Moretz, Laggies has a high adorableness factor, might have to check this out some time lol. Good review.

  5. colinashby November 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    You see, I’m conflicted on whether I should see this or not. On one hand I want to see it because I freaking LOVE Lynn Shelton, Sam Rockwell, and Kiera Knightley. On the other hand it just seems like one of those movies where it would probably have the standard cliches about how being an adult is hard and everything would be on the surface instead of digging deep.
    I’m glad you had a positive experience with it. The movie is getting good reviews (something I didn’t think would happen). I’ll probably wait till it comes out on DVD rental.
    Very good analysis of the film!

  6. Wade Williams November 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Good review Dan. This is on my list to see!

  7. CMrok93 November 7, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Yeah, that sounds about right! Thanks, Mike!

  8. Writer Loves Movies November 13, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I’ve been weighing up whether or not I should see this one. The cast sounds great but the story… I’m not so sure. But from your review it sounds like the cast have enough charisma to pull it off.

  9. Lights Camera Reaction November 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Looking forward to this one! Knightley is certainly having a solid year.

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