If you want an “unbiased” opinion of Laggies, I’m the last person you should ask. I consider the director, Lynn Shelton, and the composer, Ben Gibbard, among my friends, and a few friends from the Seattle theater world have small roles in it, and when Shelton made her first big film, Humpday, a movie that was all about making a film for The Stranger’s amateur porn festival Hump!, three colleagues and I were thanked in the “Special Thanks” part of the credits. (That’s the first and probably the last time my name will ever appear on a giant movie screen.) So I’m fully in the tank. Not to be trusted. And complicit. I was on the panel of Stranger critics who awarded Shelton a Genius Award in 2008—I didn’t get to know her until after that—so in a sense I have been cheering her on for years.

But that’s only because she’s really good at what she does.

And you’re stuck with me because no one else at The Stranger has seen Laggies. The distributor didn’t give us any review copies or hold any timely screenings so we could hire a freelancer to review it (probably because they knew we were so in the tank they didn’t need to—nice one, distributor!), and we need to have something about Laggies, and I have THOUGHTS. So many thoughts. The first of which is: Go see it. It’s a date movie. It’s romantic and funny and ends well. The second thought is: Seattle has never looked more gorgeous. Shelton once said she would never put the Space Needle in one of her movies, and it has taken until 2014 for her to cave. The Space Needle is in this movie. So is I-90. So is Ballard. So is Dick’s. So is the Central District. So is Orcas Island. The city looks wet and rich and calm, and the whole thing was shot on location in Washington State, which is an accomplishment in itself, given the economics of shooting movies here as compared to, say, Vancouver, BC. The third thought I have is: I would like to have sex with Sam Rockwell. But that is neither here nor there.

Shelton is a master of the minor chord, the story that comes from some subtle place inside a character and ends not far from where it starts. In Laggies, the character at the center is just about the most minor-chord person Shelton has ever put on the screen, Megan (Keira Knightley), who feels like she’s floating through life, unable to connect with her own story, or family, or friends, or her lover, or anything. She has a job jumping up and down on a street corner holding a sign that says “Tax Advice.” She senses that there’s something not right about her friends, but she has no idea what it is. They’re just kind of… irritating. Or wrong. Or always mad at her. Or something. One of the friends is played by Ellie Kemper, who’s hilarious. The Kemper character, Allison, is getting married, and there’s a comic scene right up front where Megan and Allison and two other friends are having a bachelorette party, and there are so many things about that scene, and the uptightness of the friend group, and the enforced “fun” of bachelorette parties, that are so very funny and so very Seattle that I keep thinking about them and cracking up.

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Then, at the wedding—an oh-my-God-I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening wedding (the bride and groom trade vows like “I promise to be your evening rose at day’s end” ad nauseam)—Megan’s puddle-of-sap boyfriend gets down on his knee and starts to propose to her, and Megan just about loses it, walking out of the ballroom at Chihuly Garden and Glass and, on her way, accidentally coming across her dad getting a hand job from a woman who’s not his wife over near Chihuly’s Icicle Towers. Don’t worry, I’m not giving too much away; all of this is within the first 10 minutes.

Megan lies to her boyfriend and tells him she’s going to a “personal development seminar” on Orcas Island and ends up hanging out with a 16-year-old, Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), she met at a grocery store. For a whole week. When the teenager’s dad, Craig (Sam Rockwell), discovers Megan in his daughter’s bedroom, he’s like: Who the hell are you? That’s when the story really starts to pick up. I don’t want to give any more away, but let’s just say Keira Knightley feels the same way about Sam Rockwell as I do. recommended