Scott Pilgrim vs. The World * * * 1/2
Director: Edgar Wright.
Screenplay: Edgar Wright, Michael Bacall.
Starring: Michael Cena, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Ellen Wong, Mark Webber, Don McKellar, Abigail Chu, Clifton Collins, Jr, Bill Hader, Thomas Jane, Brandon Routh, Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman.
Following the success of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”, director Edgar Wright ventures into the American market with a lot more zero’s added to his budget. I’m an admirer of his style, despite his previous outings lacking a little something.
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a jobless, aimless 22 year-old who plays in a garage band, shares a rent free flat with his gay friend Wallace (Kieran Culkin) and is dating a 17year old high-schooler (Ellen Wong). His life doesn’t have much focus, until he meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and falls head over heels in love with her. In order to continue dating her though, he’ll have to fight her seven Evil Ex-boyfriends in hand-to-hand combat.
Wright’s venture to Hollywood, unfortunately hasn’t ironed out his weakness. That, being the script. While watching with my partner (who wasn’t impressed) she astutely and bluntly observed, that the film is essentially about a “pubescent young boy looking for his hole”. Otherwise, Wright’s visual flair is there in abundance. A highly stylish film but unfortunately, it still has the feel of just another Michael Cera flick, of which, I am not a fan. In fairness to Cera though, he does manage to shake off some his goofiness this time around and his action moves are convincing. What isn’t convincing is the attraction he would have to the ladies, unless as suggested, the whole film takes place in his head and is in fact, a boys own fantasy. The fight fests and showdowns are visually stunning and the brief appearances from Chris Evans, Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzmann as three unsavoury exes are excellent but it’s a film directed at a particular gender and particular generation. Wright expertly captures the feel for the comic and video game generation though, channeling Japanese Anime with “Street Fighter” and “Tekken” and again shows what a quality director he is. If the names of these video games mean nothing to you, then its likely that’ll be the effect the film will have on you also. It probably won’t appeal.
The gaming generation will rejoice in it’s fresh, creative approach to film, while others will find it more style over substance. Either way there’s still an abundance of fun to be had.