Laggies (aka Say When)
by George Wolf
Is this movie called Laggies, or Say When? What does “laggies” mean? And why couldn’t someone think of a better title for that last Tom Cruise movie than Edge of Tomorrow?
Good questions. The answers are 1) Laggies in the U.S., Say When elsewhere 2) it’s Southern California slang for those who “lag behind” 3) no idea.
Really, the most important question for Laggies, and nearly all romantic comedies is: how well does it get to where you already know it’s going? That answer here is…pretty well.
Keira Knightley is Megan, a college grad caught in a twenty something life crisis. She helps out at her dad’s tax service and has a nice boyfriend and all, but she just can’t get enthused about the whole marriage/career/kids life plan that her friends are embracing.
Megan promises to buckle down and get with the program, even agreeing to go away for a week-long self-improvement seminar. Instead, she hides out at the home of Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz), a high schooler she met at the local mini-mart. Turns out, Annika could really use a positive female role model and her dad Craig (Sam Rockwell) is hip and single so, you know, cool.
Director Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister/Touchy Feely) provides the appropriate touch for a tale of three people at completely different points in life all looking for the same thing. Much like the characters, sometimes her film’s breezy wanderlust is refreshing, other times it yearns for the anchor of a more logical structure.
Andrea Seigel offers up a likable debut screenplay, often clever and amusing, made even more so by the talented cast. Knightley is at her most charming, as she and Rockwell, who continues to improve everything he’s in, display a winning chemistry. Just try and get through Craig’s interrogation of his daughter’s new, unusually older friend without smiling.
Moretz, again showing her recent stumble in If I Stay was an outlier, gives Annika a welcome authenticity, with humor and vulnerability that seem miles away from the usual teen caricatures populating movie screens.
Will you think about Laggies much after the lights come up? No, but you’ll probably enjoy the journey to an ending you’ve already guessed.