Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Before we start talking about Edgar Wright’s ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’, a movie that is about as inventive and as clever and as stupidly entertaining as anything I’ve recently seen… a word about the audience who I saw this movie with. It was a sparse audience consisting of about seven people including myself, and I’m pretty sure they all came to the movie stoned. I’m pretty sure about that. They were on some serious shit. One of the previews before the movie started was for some romcom with Justin Long and Drew Barrymore and it really wasn’t all that funny… but these cats lost it. You would’ve thought they just saw a ninety second version of ‘Blazing Saddles’ or something. There were times during ‘Scott Pilgrim’ where they actually had trouble breathing. During scenes that weren’t even meant to be funny. After the movie I gave this collection of young men and women the card of my counselor at Narconon. They had actually dozed off in their movie seats. Or they were dead. One or the other. I left the card on the forehead of the guy I deemed to be their leader. I’ve done my part.

‘Scott Pilgrim’ opens with the Universal Studios logo done in an 8-bit video game graphics style complete with a mono jingle. I’m a little confused. Am I in the right movie? I am, because unbeknownst to me at that time ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ has a video game theme pulsating through it. Scott Pilgrim, as played by Michael Cera in his unique Michael Cera style of acting, is a twenty two year old unemployed slacker living with his gay roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin)… actually he sleeps with his gay roommate though Scott isn’t gay. Allegedly. I believe there’s even another room in the apartment which would make sleeping with the gay guy wholly unnecessary, but who knows with you crazy kids. Scott is also dating a high school girl named Knives (Ellen Wong) while rocking out the four-string with his band Sex-Bob-Omb. Scott might’ve been playing a six-string bass. I wasn’t paying attention because Sex-Bob-Omb is awful.

Then one day Scott sees Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). What more could anybody want in a woman? She’s detached, completely disinterested and has purple hair. Perfect. For whatever reason Ramona becomes interested in Scott and the pair begin a whirlwind romance and that’s when Scott’s problems begin. It starts out during

a Sex Bomb gig with the completely insane Matthew Patel (Satya Bahba). That would be evil-ex number one. If Scott wants to be with Ramona, and apparently he really does, then he must defeat Ramona Flowers’ Legion of Seven Evil Exes. If you’ve ever played a videogame, particularly a fighting game, then you know the score as each opponent gets increasingly difficult as you level up.

After a series of tests, trials and tribulations with Scott even questioning this love he has for this woman and her admittedly somewhat flexible moral code, Scott meets up with Level Seven in Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman). I gotta tell you… Jason Schwartzman as Level Seven? I don’t know, but we’ll roll with it. Regardless, as expected, level seven is pretty damned difficult. Scott Pilgrim is going to have to go X, X, Y, A, Right Trigger, A if he’s going to beat that guy.

Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Graphic Novel… don’t call it a comic book… Dear GOD don’t let them hear you call it a comic book… this is a movie that combines just about everything that’s has anything to do with modern pop culture from anime, videogames, grunge rock, synth pop, comic books, fancy coffee, short attention spans and loose morality all in one semi-accessible neat package. These Crazy Kids. The first thing you need to get with to enjoy ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is recognize there are no rules governing this little universe. None. In Toronto, in this reality, anything goes so when Scott takes flight, it’s all good. Once you adjust to the physical nonsense that governs this movie, it turns from silly to kind of cool. No doubt Edgar Wright uses the best at what he has in his arsenal from the spirited fight sequences to the inspired graphical elements to give us a movie that is mighty style heavy, but entertainingly so.

A short attention really isn’t a bad thing to have while watching Scott and them either, because let’s be honest, outside of being kind of cute Ramona Flowers isn’t bringing a lot to the table which warrants all of this trouble. Considering this movie moves so fast and is so creative and busy, it’s not required or even recommended that we focus on the fact that Ramona…hell… anybody in this movie outside of Knives is all that appealing. And maybe Chris Evans as action hero Lucas Lee. Lucas Lee wasn’t all that appealing either, but he sure was funny. But I wouldn’t hang out with any of these clowns, and it sure isn’t like any of them became any more appealing as the movie went on. In a normal movie having unappealing characters, who you don’t really give a damn about, strive towards some goal almost never works, mainly because you don’t care if they reach this goal or not. And while I personally could’ve cared less if Scott and Ramona ever got together, I really didn’t, but because of the way the movie was constructed and since ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ was in no way shape or form a normal movie, I was invested in seeing how this movie ended.

‘Scott Pilgrim vs. World’ is that rare movie, at least for me, that get’s by with a heavy reliance on style, uniqueness of story and just raw creativity… way more than it gets over on character. And it was funny. Not as funny as those stoners in the top row thought it was, but it was funny. I hope they make good use of that business card.

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