Blu-ray Review: Laggies

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The strange title might help make Laggies easy to overlook, but this mild-mannered character study is actually a neat little comedy-drama that boasts a terrific cast. While Keira Knightley is currently nominated for an Oscar for The Imitation Game, she’s more nuanced in director Lynn Shelton’s Seattle-based look at a young woman yet to find her place. Make no mistake, Andrea Seigel’s screenplay is featherweight in its observations about directionless teens and 20somethings, but there’s an overall sweetness to it that makes it hard to resist. The story lacks focus and skips along at a rather lackadaisical pace, but the cast is just too likeable to dismiss.

Ten years out of high school, Megan (Knightley) is disenchanted with her friends, her fiancé, and her generally stagnant lifestyle. We’re primarily used to men playing this type of lay-about slacker, so it’s already a nice change of pace to see a female fill the role. Her dad (Jeff Garlin) enables her responsibility-shirking approach. Her friend Allison (Ellie Kemper), on the eve of her wedding, insists Megan and longtime boyfriend Anthony (Mark Webber) must be the next among their group to tie the knot. Rather than confront her dissatisfaction, Megan ducks out of life temporarily. A chance encounter with a group of teens outside a grocery store leads to an unlikely friendship. Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a well-meaning but similarly unanchored young woman. She lives with her lawyer dad Craig (Sam Rockwell) and wishes she had a closer connection with her estranged mom, lingerie model Bethany (Gretchen Mol).

Laggies 1 (380x254).jpgI would’ve preferred a deeper exploration of the reasons why Megan feels she has outgrown her high school buddies yet hasn’t found her place in the adult world. Her friendship with Annika, despite their age difference, plays out believably enough. It certainly helps that Knightley can still just about pull off high school-age girlishness. Rockwell has some fun moments as he slyly shows Craig trying to discern the age of his daughter’s mysterious new friend. No prize for figuring out exactly where Megan and Craig’s relationship is heading from the very moment they meet. Seigel’s screenplay is almost proud in its predictability. She also probably should’ve chosen a different title (though the U.K. title, Say When, is arguably less distinctive. But for a movie with an A-list cast that you almost certainly missed in theaters (it received a very limited release), it’s worth a look.

The crisp digital cinematography by Benjamin Kasulke looks great on Lionsgate’s Blu-ray. Benjamin Gibbard’s laidback, acoustic-based score is probably the most notable audio component in a straightforward but pleasant DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix.

Laggies 2 (380x253).jpgAs for bonus material, director Lynn Shelton provides an audio commentary track. There’s some surprisingly potent material within the ten minutes of deleted scenes. A few character moments, like Megan’s distain for her fiancé and their friends’ love of social media, would’ve helped define Megan more clearly. There’s also couple of EPK-style featurettes. One (“Lagging On with Lynn Shelton”) is a fairly standard ‘making of.’ The other (“Shooting Seattle”) deals with the Seattle-based locations in which Laggies was produced. The Blu-ray package also includes a downloadable digital copy.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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