Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) - ***1/2
Based on a graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a film that speaks to the sarcastic 20-something in all of us. What could be considered a nerdy comic book filled with pop culture references and hipster tendencies is now a 60 million dollar plus film. But does the beloved series lose it’s charm in it’s adapation to the big screen? Nah.
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22 year old living in Toronto hoping to find success with his band Sex Bob-omb and find love, not necessarily in that order. He’s dating 17 year old Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) but he still struggles with his break from current rock star Envy Adams (Brie Larson). All of this means something until he has a dream about a girl with pink hair and then he meets her at a party: Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Scott is obsessed with this girl. A slight problem is that Knives is still obsessed with Scott. But Scott drops Knives like a bad habit to be with his (literal) dream girl. An even bigger problem: Ramona has 7 evil ex’s who Scott must fight and defeat in order to be with her. The ex’s include a movie star (Chris Evans), a rock star (Brandon Routh), twins, and someone from when Ramona was experimenting. And at the top of the chain: Gideon (Jason Schwartzman). Can Scott Pilgrim defeat the 7 evil ex’s to win Ramona? Will Young Neil (Jason Simmons) ever stop being awkward? Will NFL star Pacman Jones consider changing his name to Puckman Jones? Will I never not appreciate a film that features both Jason Schwartzman and Aubrey Plaza? Will Arrested Development fans yell out “HER?” during a scene in the movie? Will consequences ever be the same?
Scott Pilgrim is one of the most original films you’ll see in quite some time. Granted that sounds a bit silly to say when it’s based on a comic series but it’s true, there are very few movies as creative and inventive as this. It feels like a live action comic but not in any way you’ve previously seen. The CGI works perfectly as opposed to your typical action flick where everything looks too good to possibly be true. Scott Pilgrim is an out and out fantasy without ever taking itself seriously.
Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has a great track record with creativity and Scott Pilgrim is another notch in his belt. Everything is bright and fast paced and the jokes are laugh and minute stuff. The film is very well cast as Cera plays Pilgrim perfectly with deadpan reactions and childlike innocence. Winstead is charming as Ramona but she doesn’t have to do too much as Ramona herself is a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. The supporting cast is excellent though as Mark Webber is great as Sex Bob-bomb frontman Stephen Stills and Kieran Culkin steals nearly every scene he’s in as Scott’s gay roommate Wallace Wells. Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza both have small, funny roles as Scott’s sister and enemy, respectively.
The one flaw with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is that it has to cram so much story into one film and so not everything gets the amount of attention it deserves. Scott’s past relationships are brought up but not really expanded upon other then revealing that Scott isn’t exactly the perfect boyfriend. All of Ramona’s evil ex’s get a backstory and explanation but not enough to make them really stand out.
Scott Pilgrim is a very fun film and one that will likely be more enjoyed with multiple viewings. And to those who don’t care for the film, I just have this to say. Meh.
An unprofessional confession: I missed the end of the fight with the 3rd evil (vegan) Ex as I had to quickly lower my pee bar. Also this film made me feel like my hair may be getting too shaggy. So I need a winter hat.