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A Funny, Light & Heartfelt Exploration Of A Woman's Coming Of Age

Summary

  • Scrambled explores the challenges and uncertainties of a woman's journey to finding herself and reconciling societal expectations.
  • The film's comedic approach and relatable portrayal of a woman at a crossroads make it a worthwhile experience.
  • While the ending may feel too conventional, the film's overall message of empowerment and the importance of personal choice resonates.


Scrambled starts out strong. The iconic Ego Nwodim helps set up the story as Nellie's (Leah McKendrick) best friend, Sheila, the blushing bride who is a total wreck on her wedding day. She is anxious about her choices and compliments Nellie for her seemingly wise decision not to be an adult. Nwodim and McKendrick have great chemistry together, and by introducing us to Nellie through this interaction, we are set up to experience an emotional character arc of a woman finding herself at a crossroads.

Scrambled 2023 Movie Poster

Nellie Robinson finds herself always attending her friends' and family's major life events, but a significant breakup in her thirties sends her on a new path. After freezing her eggs, Nellie heads out on a journey of self-discovery to discover that what works for everyone else may not be what works for her.

Pros

  • Scrambled is funny and deeply relatable
  • Leah McKendrick tackles tough conversations with wit & humor
Cons

  • The film could have been better as a TV series
  • Scrambled's ending is too neat

Should she settle for any man just to be a mother? Does she want to be a mother? Can she not just continue on as if her 30s are just late-stage 20s? These questions plague her and many women, and McKendrick speaks to them through a funny and charismatic portrayal of a hot mess.

What makes Scambled work so well is McKendrick's fearless commitment to exploring a personal topic through a strong performance.


Leah McKendrick Paves Her Own Path

Scrambled_Still_05 copy

McKendrick has a sharp tongue and a no-holds-barred approach to telling Scrambled's story. She shares some very personal insights and fears that so many women can relate to. But instead of a somber affair about one woman's tragic realization that she is behind in life – as if everything has its due date – she fills her film with lightness and humor that strikes the right balance.

What makes Scambled work so well is McKendrick's fearless commitment to exploring a personal topic through a strong performance. She is shaky in the dramatic bits, though her sincerity carries her through. There is an argument to be made for not directing yourself, but she surrounds herself with top-tier comedians and actors who support her in the areas she lacks.

Scrambled Makes A Case For A TV Show

Leah McKendrick dances freely in a club in Scrambled

Scrambled might be better suited for a series, fitting neatly in the TV landscape that is a growing space for millennial women rediscovering themselves when they realize society's expectations are bonkers. Furthermore, McKendrick, who serves as the writer and director in addition to starring, makes a compelling case for why she needs to exist in this space. As Issa Rae and Phoebe Waller-Bridge made names for themselves playing flawed yet relatable women, McKendrick could easily do the same with her story of a woman reconciling her desire to stay youthful and childish with becoming a mother.

We've had plenty of shows that have navigated the topic of motherhood, but none that delves into the time before that choice is made. McKendrick further emphasizes the need a series with her episodic approach to exploring Nellie's past relationships. Nellie's search for Mr. Right while curbing her ticking clock goes hand in hand and offers fertile ground for a television adaptation.

A Third Act Fumble Doesn't Derail A Solid Film

Leah McKendrick throws her head back and laughs at the bar in Scrambled

The film's last third falls into conventional trappings, wrapping things up in a nice bow. The ending narration is overly sentimental and doesn't fit the film's realness and levity. Nellie's journey, while familiar and relatable, comes together too neatly, and if McKendrick had a bit more time to flesh out the narrative, the sappy happy ending would not be the result. A story like this requires nuance and boldly traversing into the uncertainty and randomness of life. Nellie's journey starts very promising, an exciting deep dive into a complicated, free-spirited woman facing an existential crisis.

However, the ending feels way too cookie-cutter perfect. Scrambled is a worthwhile experience, though, as it is a personal tale that aims to empower through laughter. It's comforting to see that the struggle with that biological clock and the not-so-biological complications that come with it is a familiar one. When society is still so set on its old ways of seeing women chart a familiar path that has them being mothers well into their 30s, it's hard to see how not following that path as anything other than failure.

McKendrick and many other creatives have tackled this issue, but where Scrambled differs is how frankly honest it is with not knowing the correct answers and determining that there aren't any sometimes. The ultimate thing to grasp is that life is what you make of it, and your choice matters most. It's a nice feeling that the film ends on.

Scrambled (2023)

Nellie Robinson finds herself always attending her friends' and family's major life events, but a significant breakup in her thirties sends her on a new path. After freezing her eggs, Nellie heads out on a journey of self-discovery to discover that what works for everyone else may not be what works for her.

Release Date
February 2, 2024

Director
Leah McKendrick

Cast
Leah McKendrick, Ego Nwodim, Andrew Santino, Adam Rodriguez, Laura Cerón, Clancy Brown

Runtime
97 Minutes

Writers
Leah McKendrick

Studio(s)
Megamix, Bondit Media Capital

Distributor(s)
Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions

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Written by ezzeddif

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