Selling cookies on the street corner is not an easy, even dreadful” task for a misfit band of girl counts in N.C. Jones’ short film Merit Badges.
Location, location, location. Unfortunately, four girls scouts chose a dilapidated strip mall, specifically a “Reliable Loans” store, as their location to earn money for the upcoming Polliwog Jamboree weekend and for that all important merit badge for their sash. Our girl scout band consists Audra (Eowyn Blum), Miranda (Lilyanna Paige), Callie (Thai Toben), and Jessica (Kayla Scott). Audra appears to be morally opposed to selling sugary-snack (or diabetes) to unsuspecting strangers, but the desire to go to camp trumps ethics.
“…unfortunately the girls scouts chose a dilapidated strip mall...as their location to earn money for the upcoming Polliwog Jamboree weekend…”
Merit Badges quickly turns into a dark as a green Plymouth Scamp pulls in front of the Reliable Loans and the passenger runs in. Determined to go to the Jam, Audra seizes the opportunity and approaches the driver for the sale, but notices someone tied up in the back seat, covered by a blanket. As the head pops up, the driver pulls away.
Just when the danger drives away, the car turns around and the driver starts chatting with the girls about their cookies. Audra is the only one, who knows there something suspicious about this man.
Merit Badges is a silly, dark comedy about a band of not-your-typical girl scouts, doing whatever it takes to reach their goals, even if ultimately the “ends justifies the means.” The short overall is humorous with a few laugh out moments. The level of comedy is pretty safe as well as the perceived danger. The acting amongst the girls is good, but not great. Writer/director N.C. Jones’ brilliantly creates four distinct characters in this troop with individual foible and quirks. The whole tone of the short has tongue firmly lodged in cheek.
"…A silly, dark comedy about a band of not-your-typical girl scouts..."