Lynn Shelton’s Laggies feels as rehashed as Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, albeit to entirely pleasant results. Keira Knightley stars as Megan, who’s still dating her high school sweetheart, Anthony (Mark Webber), 10 years after graduation and watching as her friends slowly get married, have kids, and grow fed up with her vulgar humor and juvenile behavior. When Anthony tries to propose at their friend’s wedding, Megan freaks, pretends to go to a weeklong self-development seminar and instead moves in with Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenager who she befriended a few nights earlier after buying her alcohol. The premise is preposterous and your enjoyment of Laggies will directly correlate to how much you can let that slide, and also to how much you can tolerate yet another film about arrested development.
Within those constraints, Knightley and Sam Rockwell, as Annika’s father and Megan’s eventual crush, bring a chemistry and personal charisma that makes their scenes together better than the film deserves. Still, it’s hard not to watch Laggies without thinking back to Your Sister’s Sister, in which Shelton made rom-com tropes feel spontaneous and fresh. Shelton doesn’t serve as a writer on Laggies, meaning this film isn’t built on the improvisational approach that she brought to Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister. That mumblecore style can feel repetitive these days as well, of course, but seeing Shelton shift away from it makes you long for its more freewheeling comforts.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4—14.