Young adult career/life floundering is fertile ground for indie films.
Let’s explore a film that isn’t afraid to tackle that territory.
Megan is a decade out of high school and has no idea what to do with her life. She is still with her high school boyfriend Anthony (Mark Webber) and still hangs out with her old friends though she finds that she doesn’t have much in common with them anymore. At her friend Allison’s (Ellie Kemper) wedding, Anthony proposes to Megan who panics and runs out to hide out while she considers her next move. It also doesn’t help that she find recently witnessed her father (Jeff Garlin) being unfaithful to her mother. While out, she encounters teens, led by Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) who ask her to buy alcohol for them. She obliges and is asked to hang out with them, something she further obliges.
To further delay her boyfriend’s plan to elope, Megan tells him that she is at a week long career-advancement seminar. She hides at Annika’s house and is quickly discovered by her (Annika’s) father, Craig (Sam Rockwell). For some reason, he reluctantly allows this strange adult to stay at their house.
As time goes by, Megan attempts to figure out if she wants to get married, what she wants to career-wise, and if her future should include people from her past.
The noteworthy aspect of this film is that it gives a slightly female perspective to the usually male-dominated realm of slackerdom. It’s hard to really call Megan a true dyed-in-the-wool slacker, she is just a little aimless. Her character isn’t the type to be holed up in her parents basement, getting high and covered in Dorito dust. Instead, it speaks to the very real observation that many people her age make about these life milestones that some prioritize. It can be easy to feel left behind by these people, even if it’s not logical to measure one’s own worth by the achievements of others.
Much like other of these low-key indie flicks, this isn’t particularly funny nor is it deeply dramatic. The tone just sort of has the story drifting along, much like our protagonist. This isn’t a damning statement, this genre is often characterized by not making bold storytelling choices. Still, taking a few more chances could have gone a long way.
As far as the last act, it felt rushed and very abrupt as if Megan felt the need to just make a decision and rapidly change her mind to mess with the audience. It felt anti-climactic yet also appropriate, which explains the underwhelming whiplash it created. This is consistent with some of the other glossed-over details in the story.
As always, Knightley is a joy to watch. Moretz continues her ascent as being one of the few actual teen actresses (or actors, for that matter) who is legitimately good. She has a bright future. Rockwell is always dependable. It would have been nice to see him a little less tethered by the script, but his very presence adds something no matter what. Ellie Kemper is a big surprise in this, instead of her usual chipper self, she plays as a bit of a catty antagonist.
Special features include: commentary, a featurette with the director about how the film came together, a look at filming in Seattle, deleted scenes and trailers.
As a mildly amusing diversion, ‘Laggies’ makes for a fine rental. It’s not a particularly substantial work, but this Examiner enjoys Keira Knightley in nearly any form. Good work from the cast overcomes much of the blandness of the story itself.
Rated R 99 minutes 2015