I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Cole Clay // Film Critic
LAGGIES | 99 min. | Rated R | Director: Lynn Shelton | Stars: Keira Knightley, Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Mark Webber, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Eric Riedmann, Kaitlyn Dever, Sara Coates and Gretchen Mol
LAGGIES marks the first project from independent filmmaker Lynn Shelton (YOUR SISTER’S SISTER, HUMPDAY) that she hasn’t written herself – aside from the solid television work she did for NEW GIRL and THE MINDY PROJECT. The script was written by YA author Andrea Siegel. While the film is about a 28-year-old who is still coming of age, Shelton and Siegel are out of touch with what the implications of adulthood entails. It’s not all doom and gloom, mortgages and rings such as the film suggests. Shelton and Siegel just can’t seem to come up with any real reasons outside of the fact that growing up isn’t as cool as cruising on skateboards or sipping wine coolers.
Kiera Knightley (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, duh) is the aforementioned 28-year-old, Megan, who is overly educated and barely employed aside from working for her father Ed’s (Jeff Garlin) business as one of those people ironically dancing on the street corner with head-phones flipping those oddly shaped signs.
Megan feels burdened by her boyfriend Anthony’s (Mark Webber) chronic affliction with adulthood. When he wants to take the next step she freaks out, gets drunk and buys booze for a group of 16-year=olds led by Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz). Megan’s adolescent state manifests itself in irrational, understandable responses given the fact she is incapable of embracing change.
Siegel’s script for LAGGIES operates in simple binaries that state being an adult is bad and being lost in a sea of teen angst is good. The only adult to show any signs of life is Annika’s father, Craig (Sam Rockwell), who gets the brunt of the fun scenes when he isn’t drowning in the nagging responsibilities that come with caring for his offspring. It’s one thing to pay homage to wide-eyed youth, but to out-right condemn adulthood is short-sided.
The two form a fast friendship that goes deeper than emojis and frappuccinos. Megan, Annika and Craig are along hunky-dory until the two “adults” begin canoodling with each other. This aspect is completely contrived, but the always effervescent Rockwell occupies the screen with his authentic brand of charm – even though it’s for about a third of the film. He brings the story together, which allows the characters he surrounds to be more sympathetic.
Shelton and Siegel have forged a not-so great collaboration that echoes a much more successful film, Noah Baumbach’s FRANCES HA, that simultaneously celebrated/recognized the fleeting nature of being young. LAGGIES doesn’t takes the necessary steps to get answers for the questions that are posed. Yes, these are emotional issues we have all faced; just take your false sense of sympathy elsewhere.
LAGGIES opens in limited release tomorrow.