Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
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.