MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

Written by J.T. Johnson

4-stars

DIRECTOR: Edgar Wright
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Bill Pope
WRITERS: Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright
MUSIC: Nigel Godrich

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is an over-the-top, incredibly awkward and outrageously funny film from “Shaun of the Dead” director Edgar Wright. The story itself is based on the comic book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Along with clever effects and amazing action sequences, Wright has made a true comic book movie.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a slacker who lives with a gay roommate named Wallace (Kieran Culkin) and also plays in a horrible garage band named Sex Bob-omb. Scott doesn’t have much luck with the ladies and is even pseudo-dating a high school student (Ellen Wong) he really doesn’t care about. His entire life changes when he meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and the two eventually start dating.

Unfortunately, this is when the trouble in Scott’s life truly begins. Time after time again, he is attacked by one of Ramona’s seven superpowered ex-boyfriends. With videogame and comic book imagery, Wright brings this story to life in colorful and original ways. There are title cards to let the audience know who is who and they use clever means such as storyboards to visually tell the story of how Ramona dated and dumped each of her exes.

As far as the casting is concerned, Cera, the king of awkward acting, is perfect as the title character. While he is socially awkward, Scott is not afraid to fight the exes as they show up. Cera does an outstanding job with the action sequences. Also, when he does act weird around Ramona or his friends, he always has a charming quality to him that makes it believable that Ramona, a much stronger and apparently confident person, could fall for him.

Speaking of Ramona, Winstead does a great job at capturing her strength as well as her weaknesses onscreen. Winstead had already turned in a strong performance as McClane’s daughter in “Live Free or Die Hard”. With this unique role, however, she has proven why she is one of the most diverse and talented young actresses out there.

The movie is not without its problems. There are some (albeit rare) moments where jokes fall flat and the ending is a little too drawn out. Also, Wong as Scott’s high school girlfriend is just simply annoying and the film had enough stuff going on without her. That aside, the rest of the movie is great.

There is plenty of humor to go around in the story and the evil exes help provide a lot of that humor. With names like Chris Evans in the mix, the audience knows that they’re in for a laugh and the stars deliver. Where the film truly excels at is with the action sequences.

Every time Scott has to fight one of the exes, the audience is not disappointed by the battles that unfold. First off, they don’t feel repetitive. Each of the fights has their own unique spin. One of the funniest of which involves a visit from the Vegan Police which features cameos by Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins Jr.

Yes, the film includes Vegan Police who make sure vegans stay true to their diet. Then again, there are a lot of fantastical elements to the movie. It was a relief to see that the characters accepted this fantasy existence and there were no boring exposition scenes that were created to try to explain how everything works. Sure, there are small moments where the characters acknowledge that something is out of place, but mostly they are just having fun like the rest of the audience.

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