Rated PG-13, 3.5 stars
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a zippy comedy/adventure brimming over with comic book and video
game flourishes and pop culture references. It's based on a series of graphic
novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley and several fans of his work assured me after the
screening that the film gets everything right, that "you couldn't ask for a
better adaptation than this." Edgar Wright is the director/producer/co-writer
and he made Shaun of the Dead and
Hot Fuzz, which ups the hipness
factor even more.
I found the first part of the film intriguing but annoying.
The smug tone, the stylistic doodling, the in-your-face presentation of the
characters, and Michael Cera doing his beta male thang yet again. How can this
guy keep getting older while appearing even more adolescent?
But as the movie progressed and I adjusted to its rhythm,
most of the annoyance faded and by the final third, I had a pretty good time.
Asked my opinion afterwards, I explained what I just told you and said I was
looking forward to watching it again to see if I'd enjoy it from the start on
I haven't done that yet and decided I should write my review
based on my initial exposure. Is Scott Pilgrim the "generational milestone" some claim it to be? You got me, bub. All
I can tell you is what I experienced.
The set up: Scott Pilgrim (Cera) is a mild guy in his early
twenties who lives in Toronto, shares a bare-bones apartment, and bed, with his
gay buddy (Kieran Culkin), and plays bass in a garage band. He was flattened a
year ago when his girlfriend (Brie Larson) broke up with him. Now he dates
17-year-old Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), which seems like a bad idea to most of
his pals. It made me a squirm a little.
Everything changes when Scott meets, and falls for, Romana
Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a standard-issue "exotic" quasi-punk oozing
with attitude. Scott ditches young Knives and sets forth to battle Romana's
"seven evil exes" to the death, as in video game-style death.
Makes no sense? Right, and welcome to a world where the
quest for romance is a mix of superheroics, martial arts action and posturing,
posturing, posturing. Getting through all the battles becomes a bit of a chore,
but Wright and company get points for imagination. Scott's opponents, by the
way, include Chris Evans and Brandon Routh (who is so much better in everything
other than Superman Returns.) Jason
Schwartzman is the main teeth-gnasher.
I liked the lack of qualification concerning the sleeping
arrangements between Scott and his roomie. Nice to see sexual orientation
treated in such a no-big-deal fashion. Kieran Culkin bugged me at first –
world-weary characters that young usually do – but as I spent more time
with him, I began to appreciate the shadings of the guy. There's not a lot of
character shading otherwise. Wright offers individuals who are intended to be
cartoonish, but relatable. He pulls it off, more or less, though I often wished
the characters would just cut it out and act like full-fledged people.
Normally, I'd comment on the cast at this point, but aside
from Culkin, no one really gets the opportunity to do anything subtle.
Especially Michael Cera, who does what he does and gets away with it yet again.
So here I am, enjoying a movie that irritated me. Will
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World work for you? I
couldn't hazard a guess. For me it was frustrating, but ultimately fun.
Exasperating, but entertaining. You get the idea – I remain torn. Wonder
what I'll think of it on second viewing?