Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

65 Ratings: 3.8
A 2010 American action comedy film directed by Edgar Wright based on the comic book series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a 2010 American action comedy film directed by Edgar Wright based on the comic book series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley. The film is about Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) meeting the girl of his dreams, Ramona … see full wiki

Director: Edgar Wright
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: August 13, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
1 review about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Some good laughs, but generates NO emotional involvement

  • Aug 17, 2010
  • by
Rating:
-1
As a 46 year old male, I know that I am not the target audience for SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. But I am a voracious consumer of movies and feel that my tastes are pretty eclectic and that I'm open to just about anything (cinematically speaking). I'm also a fan of Michael Cera, even though I've said before that I'm a little tired of him presenting the same character over and over.

So, with all that said, I am sorry to conclude that despite the seemingly universal love of this film, I am NOT a fan of SCOTT PILGRIM. There are many elements that are actually quite enjoyable, but at the heart of the story (which is supposed to be an epic romance) there is no heart.

Scott Pilgrim is a bit of a loser. He plays bass in a band that hopes to do well in a local Battle of the Bands...but also apparently hasn't ever really had a gig before. He's in his 20s but dating a 17 year-old high school girl. He rooms with Wallace (Keiran Culkin) in a true hovel of an apartment..and is about to be evicted. And he's played by Michael Cera, the master of the smart but super insecure and lovelorn loser.

One night at a party, Pilgrim spies Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) from across the room. She's got brightly colored hair, wears lots of layers of black clothing and is clearly out of Scott's league. But he tricks her into a first date, and there are sparks and a relationship ensues. But Ramona is a girl with baggage. Baggage that can literally come back to bite Scott.

Ramona has seven ex-lovers (going all the way back to eighth grade), and it turns out that Scott must wage more-or-less mortal combat with each of these super-heroic exes. This is all presented in the manner of a video game, with points being racked up and Scott and his opponents executing Mortal Combat -type moves. This structure is the primary conceit of the film...and for me, it only worked sporadically. The fight scenes have a sameness about them. The cleverness with which they are executed diffuses any opportunity for tension or drama...and we never for one second doubt that Scott will triumph.

But I'd have mostly overlooked this if I had cared one bit about the relationship between Scott and Ramona. First of all, he's already dating the 17-year-old Knives Chau (Ellen Wong)...and she's a delightful girl, so the whole time, we're left feeling bad for her rather than good for Scott. But more than this, Michael Cera has become a virtual caricature of his persona. He first introduced himself to the world in the excellent, dare I say classic, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Then he rose to general stardom with his refreshing work in SUPERBAD. And then each subsequent performance was essentially a riff on the exact same character, and each time, the power of that character to amuse was diminished. Now Cera, with his doughy face and lack of a chin, is utterly and completely unbelievable as a person who could make sparks fly across a crowded room. When Ramona has a deeper voice than her boyfriend, it's also very hard to take him seriously when he's crushing opponents played by the likes of Chris Evans (FANTASTIC FOUR).

The film has a cast full of charming young ladies. Alison Pil, Anna Kendrick, Ellen Wong, etc. In fact, Pil (who plays the drummer in Scott's band) is the most dynamic performer in the film. Her freckled face, short red hair and unflinching ferocity are compelling, and I wanted to see more of her and less of folks like Culkin, who is seems to be the "token gay friend" of Pilgrim. He's wan and pale and hedonistic in a low key way. Even the usually fun Jason Schwartzman (as the ultimate ex boyfriend) is phoning in his work, as though he doesn't quite understand what it's all about. He's also the closest thing to an adult in the film. I might be remembering this incorrectly, but I don't think there are any adults in the film at all...it's a world populated entirely by teens and twenty-somethings. That's perfectly fine, but it adds another layer of removal from reality that the film really doesn't need. It's as though the creators don't want us to actually care about anyone in the film, but would rather we were simply enamored of the visual style and off-beat story.

I know this is based on a graphic novel, but while setting the film in snow-swept Toronto makes for some nice comic book visuals...it adds yet another layer of chill on any emotion the film might generate.

I laughed a decent amount, and I wouldn't say that I actively hated SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD...but for a film that expended so much energy and was so clearly in love with itself, I found it to be a deep disappointment. I imagine it will enjoy a long life with a small but very devoted group of fans...and most of its viewers will forget it very soon after seeing it.

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