If you weren’t subjected to the marketing of this film, you may find yourself wondering about the title. If you see the movie, and maybe didn’t catch the half-second utterance of the term in context, you may still find yourself wondering about the word “laggies”, like I did. I’m guessing that it must be a variation of “lag” as in to fall behind (which makes sense in the context of the story), but it is slang that I’ve never heard, and I’m guessing a big chunk of its potential audience hasn’t either. And that’s too bad, because it is a cute film about (for a change) a female slacker growing up and (maybe) finding her way.
Keira Knightley plays said slacker Megan. She’s still happy with her high school boyfriend Anthony (Mark Webber), and they are coasting along in their relationship just fine, though they can’t help but notice that all of their high school besties are married and breeding. Other than being coupled, Megan doesn’t really do anything else. She crashes her parents’ house to watch TV, or helps out her dad with odd jobs at his office. She knows she is aimless, but is sort of stuck in a self-imposed inertia. She is only triggered to action (or maybe a moment of panic), when her boyfriend tries to propose to her at their own friends’ wedding (now, who would think that is a good idea?), and she stumbles upon her dad in a less-than-saintly moment. Megan flips out and flees the wedding.
This set up has Megan, in her late 20s, to fall into an unusual friendship with a group of teenagers that she meets when she agrees to buy them booze at a convenience store. Under the guise of going on an introspective retreat, Megan instead hides out in the room of her new teenage friend Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz). It is not long before Annika’s single dad Craig (Sam Rockwell) busts them. Though suspicious of why a grown woman would hang out with teens (can you blame him?), he decides to let her stay for the week.
Director Lynn Shelton has a lovely way with actors. She brings out the best in the three leads. Keira Knightley (who, in my book, can be annoying) is surprisingly appealing, even to the point of sympathetic for all of us who may have drifted at some point in their lives. Sam Rockwell, playing the cool dad, and potential love interest, is charming and flawed. And Chloë Grace Moretz is thankfully back in talent mode as an actor, after the misfires of If I Stay and the Carrie remake.
Though it has a rather formulaic plot (the childish adult who realizes they may have to grow up), Shelton twists the typical and makes it a smidgen more interesting simply by having a woman as the lead character. Sure, it may default to the rom-com assumption that the woman will choose one man over another (and the two male leads look a heck of a lot alike… was this intentional?), but still I have to admit the movie cute. The kids are as interesting and as flawed as the adults—and the adults are pretty messed up, but are doing the best they can. You know, kind of like real life.