“I never anticipated still having to find a place where I’d fit in by the time I was an adult either.”
I first remember hearing the name Lynn Shelton when she made Hump Day in 2009. It was the kind of indie movie that got a lot of hipster movie fans talking. I watched it and was kind of underwhelmed. It wasn’t bad, it just seemed like it was trying too hard to be an indie darling. Which it achieved. I was so underwhelmed, that I haven’t watched a Lynn Shelton movie since. Until I saw reviews for Laggies. One thing they all seemed to agree on was that Shelton had become more commercial and middle of the road with each movie since Hump Day. So I figured, if everyone loved Hump Day and I thought it was bit full of itself, those same people dismissing Laggies might mean it’s more up my apparently commercial, middle of the road alley.
Megan (Keira Knightley) is 30ish with not much going in her life. Sure, she has a long term boyfriend (Mark Webber as Anthony) and a job working for her dad, but when her friends are getting married and having kids, they all look down on her for basically living the same life she has since she finished high school. When catching her dad (Jeff Garlin) having an affair kicks off a bit of a crisis, Megan drives off into the night where she meets Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz). Buying beer for Annika and her fellow high school aged friends, Megan spends a night getting drunk with the teenagers and lamenting the current state of her life.
Discovering her dad’s infidelity is just the beginning for Megan. When Anthony starts talking proposals and marriage, she realises that maybe their relationship is more about convenience than actual feelings and affection. One day, Annika calls Megan to help get her out of some trouble at school. Megan decides that laying low at Annika’s house, while her single father (Sam Rockwell as Craig) is at work is a great way to avoid confronting her mounting problems. But when Craig comes home unexpectedly early, he’s understandably concerned about this grown ass adult hanging out with his school aged daughter. But soon enough, Megan becomes a bigger part of their lives than she ever expected to be.
The idea of Rockwell’s character being so quickly and easily convinced to let Knightley’s stay in his house is kind of ludicrous, but Laggies hangs enough of a lantern on the decision that I was totally OK with it. I’m willing to suspend a fare bit of disbelief, as long as a movie doesn’t try to trick me into it, or try to deny that the suspension is required to get onboard with tis story. Why is Craig so quickly and easily convinced to let Megan stay? Because the movie needs it to happen. Now, I get that that is probably an example of bad or lazy screenwriting, but it just never bothered me. Maybe because Sam Rockwell is just such a charming son of a bitch, I don’t care how half assed a movie’s excuse is to get him on the screen.
Now that I’ve seen Laggies, I wouldn’t be able to disagree if someone called it commercial and middle of the road, but I also think that movies like Hump Day are just as guilty of pandering. So, does pandering to hipsters make your movie better than pandering to the mainstream? I don’t think so.