Known for low-budget and partially improvised indie films like Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister, director Lynn Shelton takes careful steps toward the mainstream with the relatively polished Laggies. Shelton’s film is funny and sweet and features a charming central performance from Keira Knightley, all of which allows Laggies to serve as the guilt-free romantic comedy for those left cold by Hollywood’s formulaic output in that genre.
Laggies also scores points just by telling the story of an aimless twenty-something slacker who happens to be female. (Comedies about young men suffering from arrested development arrive at an alarming rate these days.) Knightley’s 28-year-old Megan makes her living holding up a sign on the street promoting her dad’s business and still hangs out with her pals from high school. She responds to marriage proposal from her high school sweetheart by faking a business trip and hiding out at the home of teenaged friend Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Annika’s newly single dad (Sam Rockwell). It’s a set-up that points in obvious directions, but well drawn characters (courtesy of a screenplay by novelist Andrea Seigel) and Shelton’s light touch combine to insulate the story from sentiment or cliché. It may be yet another film that says it’s never too late to find your own path, but at least Laggies heeds its own advice.
Laggies starts today, Friday, Nov. 7, at the Elmwood Palace theater. More info here.