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Review: Laggies

October 24, 2014

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Laggies Poster

The trio at the centre of writer-director Lynn Shelton’s wonderful 2012 film Your Sister’s Sister provided one of the most strangely believable and oddly endearing three handers in recent memory.

Now comes Laggies, the latest dramedy from the quietly perceptive voice of Lynn Shelton, and the unlikely trio at the centre of this funny and wise character study also feels undeniably real.  After playing at TIFF, the film opens in limited release today, courtesy of VVS Films.

After her boyfriend Anthony (Mark Webber) proposes to her at the wedding of their mutual friend (Ellie Kemper), Megan (Keira Knightley) gets scared and bolts from the party.  On her way back, she runs into Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) at the grocery store, a teen girl who convinces Megan to buy her friends some booze.

When she ends up spending the night drinking and hanging out with the group of teenagers, Megan decides to crash with Annika and her jaded single father Craig (Sam Rockwell) for the week, to avoid coming clean to her boyfriend.

Anthony is one of those almost smotheringly nice guys who plans out his every move, keeping a few days worth of carefully trimmed stubble on his face to try and look spontaneous.  The friends they share are all the same way, happily coasting down the stereotypical paths they have planned for themselves since high school.  But Megan isn’t ready to do the whole marriage and kids thing just yet, if at all, and who can really blame her?  Craig already did all that stuff over sixteen years ago, only to find himself and Annika unceremoniously abandoned.

Although working on a bigger budget than before, which shows through in the nicely polished cinematography, Lynn Shelton has thankfully retained the sharp dialogue and naturalistic characters that have made her previous films so strong.  Here she does a great job of subverting typical romantic comedy clichés, especially evident during an airport scene near the end that takes a refreshingly different turn.  This is a film that is enjoyable because of how believable the whole thing feels, allowing us to spend time with a group of almost uncannily relatable characters, who help justify our own life choices.

Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell are all great, and they have some wonderful chemistry together.  Even just in brief scenes, the supporting cast is equally solid.  Jeff Garlin has some very nice moments as Megan’s caring father, who openly admits that he has made some mistakes, and wished she would do the same.  Kaitlyn Dever, who also delivered excellent work in this month’s Men, Women & Children, is an absolute scene stealer here as Annika’s whip smart best friend.

Even if we can pretty much guess where the characters will end up by the final scene, it’s no small feat that the journey getting there still manages to feel completely fresh.  Enjoyable every step of the way, Laggies is a delightfully entertaining and even wise film about growing up on your own schedule, that hit home for this viewer.

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