Film review: ‘Laggies’ is a clever twist on the slacker story

Keira Knightley will test your patience in Laggies—but in a good way.

Three and a half stars

Laggies Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell. Directed by Lynn Shelton. Rated R. Opens Friday.

Thanks mainly to Judd Apatow and his various acolytes and imitators, the slacker man-child has become a familiar fixture of movie comedies. With Laggies, director Lynn Shelton and screenwriter Andrea Seigel switch the focus to a slacker woman-child, Megan (Keira Knightley), who like her male counterparts spends much of her time sitting on the couch watching TV, works a dead-end, low-effort job despite having an advanced degree, and is horrified to watch her friends getting married and popping out kids.

Megan takes things one step further by ditching her longtime boyfriend and befriending an actual teenager, Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), crashing at her house to avoid any adult responsibilities. It’s a contrived setup that gets even more so when Megan finds herself drawn to Annika’s single dad (Sam Rockwell), but Shelton and the cast give it a welcome dose of authenticity, especially in the cross-generational bond between Megan and Annika. As unlikely as the situation may be, Knightley and Moretz build a convincing relationship, even as the story heads into questionably sappy territory (a last-minute airport change-of-heart is involved). Megan may learn a few important things about responsibility, but by the end she’s still realistically (and rewardingly) far from figuring out her entire life.

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