“While Seattle-based filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s been a regular presence at Sundance with films like Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister and Touchy Feely, Laggies is both a welcome return and an intriguing departure,” begins James Rocchi at Film.com. This is “the first time in her career she’s worked from a script by another person, but that screenwriter Andrea Siegel’s work felt like a fit. And the change does Shelton good; funny, human, clean and still messy, Laggies is the indie-film equivalent of a bumblebee—it shouldn’t be able to fly and maneuver, but it does and does so superbly.”
“Isn’t Shelton, who used to make scrappy, wholly improvised indie comedies, moving closer with ever picture to what could be described as the stereotypical ‘Sundance movie’?” asks the AV Club‘s A.A. Dowd. “Are we losing her—year by year, film by film—to the anonymity of Indiewood?… The plot is a Focus Features exec’s wet dream come true: Stubbornly clinging to her adolescence, 28-year-old Megan (Keira Knightley, rocking a flawless American accent) floats aimlessly through post-college life. When her high-school sweetheart (Mark Webber) proposes to her, Megan buys time by leaving for a weeklong self-improvement seminar. But she ends up blowing that off for the exact opposite of self-improvement, laying low instead with high-school student Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), for whom she once purchased beer. She also cozies up to the girl’s father (Sam Rockwell), who proves surprisingly quick to trust this grown woman spending all of her time with his teenage daughter. Given that basic premise, it’s something of a miracle that Laggies isn’t completely insufferable.”
Variety‘s Justin Chang: “True to its title, Laggies lags a bit at 100 minutes, especially in the home stretch, which shamelessly packs in a drunk-driving incident, an airport climax and a prom-night denouement. A less predictable, more open-ended conclusion to Megan’s quarter-life crisis would have been preferable, as she essentially exchanges one set of expectations (her high-school friends’) for another (the audience’s). But if the narrative progression feels too tidy and circumscribed, Shelton’s talent for bringing out the best in her actors remains satisfyingly intact.”
Laggies is “the most movie-like movie Shelton has made,” suggests John DeFore in the Hollywood Reporter. “From production values to performances to the script, everything here is more polished than we’ve come to expect from Shelton’s lovably loose films. Yet the finished product still feels of a piece with that body of work, emotionally optimistic and comfortable with characters who are rarely at ease.”
It’s “a very likeable, often funny comedy that can’t quite escape a certain conventionality,” finds Tim Grierson, writing for Screen.
“Like all of Shelton’s narratives, Laggies unfolds in a world ever so slightly removed from the one most of us inhabit,” writes Emma Myers for Indiewire, “and the extent to which the audience is willing to emotionally invest in the improbable relationships she presents us with depends almost entirely on the cast. It’s why Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister were winning in a way that Touchy Feely wasn’t, and although she’s branched out from her regular players, the director has picked a winning team here, piecing together a principle trio whose chemistry is as palpable as it is natural.”
HitFix‘s Drew McWeeney “was already enjoying the film, but when Annika’s dad finally makes his entrance, things get kicked up to a different level, which is often the case when Sam Rockwell arrives in a film.”
“Laggies has its charms, chief among them being without a doubt Sam Rockwell,” agrees Rodrigo Perez at the Playlist, but the “problem” is that “as Megan begins to discover who she is and what she wants out of life, the character reveals herself to be a borderline dysfunctional sociopath trampling all of those around her.”
Interviews with Shelton: Andrew Barker (Variety), Laura Hertzfeld (EW) and Danielle Lurie (Filmmaker). At Twitch, Valentina I. Valentini chats with Shelton and cinematographer Ben Kasulke. Katy Hasty gets a moment with Knightley for HitFix. Indiewire‘s Peter Knegt reports on the Sundance Q&A.
Updates: “A24 has acquired domestic rights,” reports Nigel M. Smith at Indiewire. “The company is planning a summer theatrical release.”
Viewing (3’07”). Rockwell, Moretz and Shelton talk to EW.
Updates, 1/21: “I loved Humpday, was largely indifferent to Your Sister’s Sister, and hated Touchy Feely; Laggies I’d slot somewhere between the latter two.” The Dissolve‘s Noel Murray: “The movie’s a lot like Frances Ha but without any of the empathy toward the people who have to put up with a self-absorbed heroine.”