Writer/director/star Leah McKendrick impresses in telling this semi-autobiographical tale.
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“Scrambled” (in theaters beginning Friday, Feb. 2) first came on my radar when I saw a trailer before the romantic comedy “Anyone But You” around Christmastime. The promo was funny – the movie is even funnier … and surprisingly sincere.
Nellie Robinson (writer/director Leah McKendrick) is a 34-year-old woman who’s always a bridesmaid and never a bride. She’s still reeling two years after a breakup with her longtime boyfriend. Her career prospects aren’t great (she sells jewelry on Etsy … often with return requests) especially by comparison to her successful lawyer brother Jesse (Andrew Santino).
While on MDMA at the wedding of her best friend Sheila (“Saturday Night Live” veteran Ego Nwodim) Nellie has an earth-shattering conversation with Monroe (June Diane Raphael of the “How Did This Get Made?” podcast), another one of her gal pals. Monroe has everything Nellie doesn’t – a fulfilling job, a hot husband and a cute kid with a weird name.
Monroe lets Nellie know that her window to become a mother is quickly closing. This, in conjunction with pressure from her father Richard (aces character actor Clancy Brown) for grandchildren prompts Nellie to borrow money from Jesse and begin freezing her eggs. Additionally, Nellie examines past romantic failures by reconnecting with former flames dating all the way back to her high school sweetheart Preston (Sterling Sulieman).
McKendrick is hugely impressive in her roles as writer, director and star. She deserves an awful lot of credit for bravely telling this semi-autobiographical tale and baring body and soul. She’s strongly supported by Brown (making a habit out of playing different protagonists’ Pops in recent films including “Promising Young Woman,” “Dumb Money” and this) and Santino (this dude’s reliably hilarious despite often appearing in dreck and his shallow character reveals great depth late).
“Scrambled” is like a female-centric “Knocked Up” by way of Andrea Savage’s dearly departed TruTV sitcom “I’m Sorry.” It’s equal parts comedic, confessional, heartfelt and horny. Furthermore, it’s a raunchy reminder that you can’t truly love someone else without loving yourself first. I can see the movie having a big impact on women of a certain age (namely between 25 and 45), but it’s funny enough that it’ll likely appeal to their boyfriends and husbands too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this fertile flick amongst my favorites of 2024.