'Scrambled' review: Fertility dramedy goes down over-easy
Courtesy of Lionsgate
A spiritual companion to the heyday of Judd Apatow comedies “Trainwreck,” and “Bridesmaids,” writer-director Leah McKendrick’s debut film “Scrambled” is as much a satire about millennials entering their thirties as it is about our ticking biological clocks. A sometimes candid and unapologetic statement on the relatability of being broke, single, and mentally displaced regarding what the definition of success is at the prime age of 34, “Scrambled” explores those dynamics with a whip-smart attitude and loads of style. That doesn’t mean it can’t stand in its own way as the final stretch paves way for an entourage of conventional and manipulative plot developments that leaves the movie feeling a little undercooked.
But McKendrick shows a real knack for pulling laughs from authentic circumstances, like a character saying “pee pee time” after a hook-up. The writer-director stars as Nellie, a carefree, professional bridesmaid (and Etsy shop owner) staring down the reality of what her baby making future is going to look like. After scrounging up enough cash for the treatments, Nellie, with the support of her best friend Sheila (Ego Nwodim), decides to freeze her eggs. It’s a milestone achievement considering everyone around her is celebrating either getting engaged, married, or pregnant. It’s in these sequences where McKendrick, who based the movie off her own experience, gets to shine. Like a scene where she suggests, while attending a baby shower, they should throw her a party. We’ve all been there.
The latter half of the movie becomes a soul-searching journey for Nellie in her quest to find a semblance of connection among her roster of past relationships. It goes about as well as you’d expect and “Scrambled,” to its credit, doesn’t become an uninspired romantic comedy where some attractive guy sweeps Nellie off her feet. In fact, most of the dudes she encounters are baboonish or extremely insecure and McKendrick really enjoys playing with the comedic elements in these awkward situations.
In between all that, we see her taking the medication needed to prepare her eggs for the procedure, and we get a sense of how isolated Nellie really is. “Scrambled” can be, at times, a little on the nose with its depiction of the experience, and a late addition monologue adds minor levity into the proceedings. But through it all, McKendrick stays true to the story and the endgame, reminding viewers that it’s okay to not have the answers and you can always lean on yourself when you need it most.
SCRAMBLED opens in theaters Friday, February 2nd