Is it possible for your best laid plans to be derailed by the reality of living in the real world? Will you be able to make new plans or be stuck in the past trying to figure out what went wrong? That’s part of the premise behind the DVD release of the movie “Laggies,” which had one woman struggling to find her purpose in life. The premise had some potent, but a hastily put together ending could’ve derailed it entirely.
“Laggies” followed Megan (Keira Knightley) who was a 28 year old woman struggling to figure out what to do with her life. She was continually working dead end jobs when her chosen profession as a counselor never seemed to be the right fit for her. All of her friends were either getting married or having babies. Megan had a devoted boyfriend in Anthony (Mark Webber) who was her high school sweetheart and they weathered some harsh storms before ending up in a good place. He was looking to take the next step as well, but Megan wasn’t so eager. At a friend’s wedding reception, Anthony proposed marriage, which caused Megan to feel sick. She runs to the bathroom to find her father (Jeff Garlin) in a compromising position with someone other than her mother. As a result, Megan got in her car and fled to a nearby store where she was approached by Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her friends to buy alcohol for them. Megan foolishly obliged since she was trying to make friends with the teenage group. Annika made an effort to include Megan in the social circle by inviting her to a high school party where Megan wouldn’t have a care in the world. Sadly, Megan had to deal with reality the next morning when she confronted her father and made plans with Anthony about eloping. A call from Annika gave Megan the perfect excuse to hide from her problems about a week, but Annika’s single father Craig (Sam Rockwell) could derail that when he found out about Megan. Will he ruin her temporary break from the real world or help her make a better decision?
In terms of questions, the movie pretty much neatly resolved all of the loose plots by the time the end credits started rolling. The only issue was that the film’s ending seemed to be a tad rushed and there was no clear reasoning as to why Megan made the decisions she made. If the film made went on for a few minutes more, there could have been a brief scene that showed Megan contemplating her future in a way that would’ve made the ending a little more believable. Otherwise, the film’s first hour or so was the perfect balance of easy breezy comedic charm with an extra kick of quirk to make it stand out. The scenes that stood out the most were the ones that involved Megan and Annika bonding over their similar circumstances as teenager and adult. Sure, the way that the two characters came together and trusted each other was a little unusual, but both characters needed each other in order to realize what life had in store for them. In Annika, Megan found someone she could mentor and in turn grow up herself. In Megan, Annika found a mother figure that she was sorely lacking for years. The only story that had a few holes was Megan’s relationship with Annika’s father Craig, because it seemed hard to believe that any parent would allow someone he didn’t know to stay in his house for the better part of a week without knowing too much about her. What made viewers overlook this flaw was the fact that Rockwell and Knightley had a breezy rapport that made it easy to believe.
As for breakout performances, Knightley, Rockwell and Moretz led the pack as their characters were the driving force behind the story. Knightley’s Megan was the opposite of her usual on-screen performances where she usually appeared so polished and poised. For this role, Knightley turned Megan into an awkward teenage adult who used her discomfort in the way she talked and walked. She also gave Megan a relaxed stance that made it slightly believable that a group of teenagers could connect with her character. She also had a comfortable rapport with both Moretz and Rockwell as they designed themselves to be a unique sort of misfit family that worked better together than separately. Rockwell played his usual goofy good guy charm but he also provided Craig with a hint of cynicism as he struggled to find a way to keep going after his divorce. His strongest scene came when his character confessed to Knightley’s Megan about his new reality and how he having a hard time connecting with any woman. The scene made the character a little more endearing to viewers. Moretz, on the other hand, had the challenging task of trying to find new depth into the usual rebellious teenager role, which she managed to for the most part. She made Annika both wild and vulnerable as she attempted to connect with her estranged mother with disastrous results. Both Annika and Megan went to visit her without finding anything meaningful from it, except new bras. That scene allowed Moretz to express her sadness without completely verbalizing her disappointment that the visit didn’t turn out better. Let’s hope that Moretz continues to get the chance to shine as long as the roles fit her well. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
Verdict: Knightley and Moretz delivered memorable performances, but the film’s rushed ending nearly threatened to derail everything up to that moment.
DVD Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: R
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)