30 Second Review: Scott Pilgrim vs the World

30 Second Review:  Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Directed by Edgar Wright, released August 13, 2010

How could a film by Edgar Wright not hugely fun?  After all, he cut his teeth on the wonderfully wacky British sitcom “Spaced”, and then brought us the brilliant and hilarious Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz . This leaves us only with one question – where was the Simon Pegg cameo?

Quite honestly, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World didn’t need that – although it would have been a hoot.  The story, based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, is about a nice, lackluster sort of fellow – Scott Pilgrim.  He’s a bit of a slacker, but a nice guy.  At the age of 22, he’s between jobs, in a somewhat dysfunctional band, knows a lot about video games, lives with his gay friend in a tiny apartment, and is dating a 17 year old high school girl.  But despite his being a poster boy for arrested adolescence, he’s still a nice guy.  That is, until he meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers.  Then, life gets complicated.  Especially when he discovers that in order to continue seeing her, he has to defeat her seven exes, and they aren’t your ordinary, everyday sort of rivals.

From the opening screen credit where the Universal logo evokes 16-bit graphics with Mario-like music, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World gives a nod – and several fist bumps and high fives – to old school console games (all hail Nintendo!), retro comics (“bam!”, “pow!”) and the sense of invincibility (perceived and real) that feels irrepressibly young and fresh.  But what’s really remarkable is that, even though the movie was completely populated with young people, it made me – an old coot – feel young again.  In fact, I think my husband laughed as much as my son did, and my whole family thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Wright’s direction in Scott Pilgirm vs. the World is amazingly loose yet tight, and the characters all relate well to each other, even minor players and superfluous characters.  Many aspects of Scott’s world – the caustic, foul-mouthed friend and younger sister, for example – didn’t need to be there, but didn’t detract from the action or drag down the story, and in fact made the environment in which Scott moves seem that much more real.  There are lessons learned here, but they are not heavy-handed nor overtly emotional, just kinda…. there, and that’s enough.

Michael Cera is perfect in the role of Scott Pilgrim – doe eyed, naïve, a touch clueless (without being pathetic), but able to hold his own in a fight to the death (ala video games) with the exes.  The rest of the ensemble cast was also well realized, with special nod given to Kieran Culkin as Scott’s witty roommate and Mae Whitman as one of the more surprising exes.  The only weakness I saw (and my family did not agree) was the character of Ramona Flowers; she seemed somewhat lackluster to me.  But I quibble – it is not deal breaker in any way, shape or form.

So go ahead and make one more outing to the movie theatre before the summer is over, and see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  It’s a fun, well done, entertaining movie that will have you chuckling throughout and laughing out loud more than you might expect.  You’ll come out of the theatre feeling good, and that’s a great thing for a movie to do.  I give it 3-1/2 out of 4 stars and a great, big thumb’s up.

~ by arcticwren on August 25, 2010.

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