Lynn Shelton’s new film, Laggies—about a late-20s woman (Keira Knightley) who’d rather hang out with teenagers than face the realities of growing up—opened its limited run last Friday and expands to more cities this week. (Shelton talked to us last week about what it was like to work from someone else's for the first time.) The reviews are starting to trickle in, and they’re…sort of positive? Seems like if there’s one thing critics agree on, it’s that Shelton’s just keeps getting better—even if Laggies isn’t the best display of her talent.
"We basically know where Laggies is headed; the film is a soft, straight, easy pitch down the middle, story-wise. And it’s a light movie: You won’t get a particularly profound look at adults who act like kids from it. The screenplay resolves character conflicts with unnerving speed. But this is also a uniquely inviting film, shot through with the humanity with which Shelton (who directed the glorious Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister) usually treats her characters."
—Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
"Shelton's movies can have an interesting schizophrenia, feeling both too contrived and not structured enough. Laggies is easily her largest, most scripted film yet, a transition that feels perfectly smooth. Her ability to coax unadorned performances from actors is her most obvious skill, and it results here with a fine Knightley as a recognizable kind of selfishly meandering mess, who probably deserves a more critical eye than this movie is willing to give her."
—Jake Coyle, Associated Press
"Director Lynn Shelton is working from a formulaic script by Andrea Seigel. Shelton has written more involving, intricate and nuanced films, such as 2011's Your Sister's Sister, and Laggies is the first film Shelton has directed that she didn't pen herself. It could have benefited from her writing expertise.
"The intriguing concept of a comfortably inert young woman is undermined by a few too many grand gestures and contrivances."
—Claudia Puig, USA Today
"Fans of Shelton’s earlier films—Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, Touchy Feely—will almost certainly miss the artful dodginess and rueful, observant humor of Shelton’s singular voice and vision. That said, Laggies possesses irrepressible cheer, optimism and an innate sense of ease that often go missing in angstier productions loosely organized under 'Aging, fear of.' Unlike its sometimes annoyingly wishy-washy heroine, this is a movie that knows just where it’s going, and finds joy in the journey.
—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"This is a nice movie. It’s frisky and cheerful, even when tears are on the way. But it isn’t a very good movie, mainly because, like its heroine, it’s reluctant to make up its mind about what it wants to be. The rough, lived-in, naturalistic look belies a soft sitcom heart, and every foray into risky emotional territory prefigures a retreat into cliché. It turns out that Megan, rather than finally negotiating a passage to independence, is just moving from one dude to another, trading in a needy man-child for a daddy."
—A.O. Scott, New York Times
"You can tell that Lynn Shelton has picked up incredible directing tricks by grabbing episode work on television comedies like New Girl, Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project. The jokes in Laggies are born of character development, and don’t adhere to a stilted, setup-punchline structure. You will either recognize friends and family members in the characters on screen in Laggies (or you’ll realize you are a Megan or a Craig—fix your life! It’s not too late!)"
—Sean O’Connell, Cinemablend