Movie Notes: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
= 2 stars
Starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Directed by Edgar Wright
Loser bassist Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) battles seven evil exces to win the heart of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
- Bold, glossy, and relentless direction does have its moments – just when things started getting stupid and I was about to turn the whole affair off – an ex-boyfriend showed up and plot discarded in favor of Speed Racer style violence.
- Cera’s okay, but Winstead is best as the aloof, above it all Ramona Flowers. She often seems to be in another, better movie entirely.
- Pilgrim’s world is an amalgam of video games and comic books – little explanatory pop-ups appear over objects, killed ex-boyfriends drop coins, and word-balloon text is overlaid over everything – which personally became rather gimmicky and tiresome. The comic book worship reminded me of the day-glow colors and tilted cameras of Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy – this film’s target audience is probably too young to remember that misfire.
- Barely any character development – no satisfying answer to why Scott wants Ramona or why Ramona would give even one fig about Scott. Ultimately, beneath all the gloss and slick surface, all that’s left is an unsatisfying love story. The sheen papers over the depressing truth of Scott’s life – late 20s, sleeps on a mattress on the floor, has no job, is emotionally immature, and his only aspiration is to be in a band that doesn’t suck. His world seem built on unhealthy denial.
- Just when I thought it was all over – it wasn’t.
While Scott Pilgrim‘s kinetic fight scenes and smug attitude are fairly entertaining, it also depicts a distressing world where reality is ignored in favor of fantasy. Just when things get boring – and everything inevitably does to these ADD youngsters – adopt the next thing as quickly as possible.
I guess the only way to enjoy this flick is to just surrender to the nonsense and go with the flow. Which – fittingly – is the same strategy for the enduring the tedium of watching someone else play a video game.