'Laggies': The aim of the film starring Keira Knightley isn't always clear

Actress Keira Knightley isn't believable as a 'laggy' – someone who is slow and aimless – or as a woman reclaiming her teenhood, but Chloë Grace Moretz is well cast as the teen with whom she bonds and Sam Rockwell is good as Moretz's caustic but sensitive father.

Barbara Kinney/A24/AP
'Laggies' stars Keira Knightley (r.) and Chloë Grace Moretz (l.).

Lynn Shelton’s “Laggies,” written by Andrea Seigel, is named after a new-to-me term that refers to people who are slow and aimless. “Laggies” itself isn’t exactly slow – its pace is pleasantly meandering – and it’s far from aimless, although what it’s aiming for isn’t always clear. 

Keira Knightley is Megan Burch, 10 years out of high school and not yet settled into adulthood. She’s a “sign twirler” for the Seattle accounting firm of her father (Jeff Garlin) and lives with the boyfriend she's been dating since high school (Mark Webber).

When he suddenly proposes to her, Megan, who accepts, is nevertheless so panicked that she concocts an excuse to disappear for a week.

She’s supposed to be attending a self-improvement seminar but actually she’s camping out in the home of her new 16-year-old friend, Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), with whom she bonded after buying her and her friends some booze from a local store. This is the first of several liquor-related escapades, including a DUI arrest, that we are supposed to think is kinda cute.

The conceit of having Megan reclaim her teenhood while acting as a mentor to Annika never jells. Of course, Annika’s single dad, Craig (Sam Rockwell), with whom she lives, is initially taken aback by the new boarder, but then he and Megan hit it off and, well, you can guess where this is going.

Knightley isn’t believable as either a laggy or born-again teen. Moretz at least is well cast. Rockwell does his caustic-sensitive routine, at which he's getting very good. You’d never catch him being a sign twirler. Grade: C+ (Rated R for language, some sexual material, and teen partying.)

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