There’s no question that Lynn Shelton‘s Laggies (A24, 10.12) is one of the best comedies of its type or the best…certainly the most satisfying Lynn Shelton film ever (well beyond the realm of Touch Feely and Your Sister’s Sister, and more schematically crafted and on-target than Humpday). And yet right now it has a moderately lousy 55% Rotten Tomatoes rating. That doesn’t calculate when you consider that the thumbs-uppers include Variety‘s Justin Chang, The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore, Film.com‘s James Rocchi, HitFix‘s Drew McWeeny and The Playlist‘s Rodrigo Perez. When these minds are pleased for more or less the same reasons, a film has definitely done something right. Oh, yeah…here’s my reaction.
“There have been, of course, a plethora of films about the stuck, the slack and the stalled, but there’s still a spectrum of quality any seemingly-familiar plot or pitch can then be placed in, and Laggies is a high-quality example of that subset — full of flawed, real people and dialogue that both sparkles with a well-polished sheen and still has the rough edges of life. Superbly written, handsomely made and full of terrific performances, Laggies is Shelton’s best film to date — Film,.com’s James Rocchi.
“Her name virtually synonymous with a particular breed of shaggily perceptive, semi-improvised relationship comedy, Lynn Shelton takes a step closer to the mainstream with Laggies, her sixth feature film and the first one she didn’t write herself (it was scripted by promising newcomer Andrea Seigel). Starring a delightfully loose-limbed Keira Knightley as an aimless young woman who retreats from her close circle of friends to figure out what she wants to do with herself, this perky comedy of regression follows a familiar late-coming-of-age trajectory, and Shelton’s admirers may well feel she’s sacrificed authenticity and spontaneity for a bright, plasticized commercial sheen. Yet it remains a consistently amusing and appealing romp, bolstered by warm supporting turns from Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell that should help steer it toward an appreciative off-Hollywood audience.” — Variety‘s Justin Chang, 1.17.14.