Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
dir Edgar Wright
scr Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright
prd Eric Gitter, Nira Park, Marc Platt, Edgar Wright
with Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Mark Webber, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong, Brie Larson, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Mae Whitman
release US 13.Aug.10, UK 25.Aug.10
10/Canada Universal 1h52
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Game over: Cera and Winstead

webber culkin kendrick
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Scott Pilgrim vs the World So uber-hip that young audiences will adore it, this hyperactive film can't decide whether it's a comic book or a videogame. Sure, it's visually whizzy and often very funny, but filmmaker Wright loses the story in the scuffle.

In Toronto, Scott (Cera) is a 22-year-old geek in a rock band. His bandmates (Webber, Pill and Simmons), sister (Kendrick) and flatmate (Culkin) tease him for dating a teenager (Wong), but she's the band's biggest fan. Then he meets Ramona (Winstead), who is literally his dream girl, and to win her hand he has to defeat her seven evil exes in outlandish battles. These include an action movie star (Evans) and a top music promoter (Schwartzman). And one (Routh) is member of a band fronted by Scott's own evil ex (Larson).

With its colourful design, graphical flourishes, outrageous characters and a script peppered with jagged one-liners, it should be impossible to get bored by this restless movie. And yet the constant motion actually becomes dull, simply because the filmmakers spend so much time making everything wacky that they forget to take care of the rather terrific idea at the core of the film.

Essentially this is a story about two people trying to deal with their past relationships, and the concept of having them battle it out in a surreal game-inspired world is extremely clever. But director Wright only focuses on the cool-looking visuals and witty graphics, never creating characters we care about. So the fighting and banter never gather meaningful steam. And the central romance never feels remotely possible.

But the bigger problem is that Cera is playing the same character he's played throughout his career. Everyone else in the film is more interesting than him, but the hectic flurry of imagery doesn't let him build any chemistry. That said, there's just about enough entertainment in the parade of cameos to keep us entertained (Evans, Routh and Whitman are genuinely hilarious). But Wright really needed to kick this up a notch to make it work, because as it is, no one over a mental age of 12 will like it.

cert 12 themes, language, violence, innuendo 12.Aug.10

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