'Pilgrim' 1-Ups quirky comedy genre
A lovable cast wins hearts.
Those of you who have actually heard of "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" immediately thought: "Wow, Michael Cera playing an awkward hipster got boring after 'Superbad.'" Here's the assurance "Scott Pilgrim" is much more than a soft-spoken Cera-vehicle. It's a wildly quick, 8-bit worshipping fun machine that will be unlike anything you have seen at the cinema.
For those of you who have not heard about "Scott Pilgrim," the film begins with the 22-year-old titular character, a freeloading bass player dating a 17-year-old (is that not illegal in Toronto?) named Knives. Soon, Ramona, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, roller skates into Scott's dreams, life and heart. To be with Ramona, Scott not only has to break up with Knives, but he also has to defeat Ramona's seven evil exes.
I could waste my time talking about how Cera brings more than a shade of selfish confidence to his role and still makes Pilgrim remarkably likeable, but the rest of the cast simply steals the show. Winstead, with her multicolored hair, is so cool she hurts your brain. Ellen Wong, in her first big role, makes Knives' transition from adorably naive to fan-girl insane the most believable arc in the movie. Even one of the Culkins (Kieran, to be exact) pops in to play Scott's roommate and drop some of the best one-liners of the year.
Many films get tagged as comic book movies, but "Scott Pilgrim " is the first film that actually takes that moniker and runs with it. Director Edgar Wright, whose previous track record consists of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," took Bryan Lee O'Malley's source material and crafted an amazing comic-film hybrid. With surprisingly well-taught fight scenes and an iTunes-ready soundtrack, Wright assembled a movie that has "cult hit" written all over it.
The sharp focus of the film hardly makes it accessible for those outside the specific 18- to 35-year-old demographic. Much like John Hughes' films embody the suburban angst of the 1980s, "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" is a snapshot of the self-centered, pop culture-saturated, slacker-driven world we young adults of the new millennium operate in. It is literally about a guy who has made himself the hero of his own video game, but heroics are not as easy as your NES made them out to be. The simplicity of a plumber out to save the princess does not exist. It soon becomes apparent that not only is Scott creating his own evil exes, but he's also well on the road to becoming one himself.
Along this roller coaster journey, Scott becomes aware of his own capacity for good and evil. We are all the villains of someone's story, and as soon as we can wrap our heads around that, we can start to make the choices that are worth it.
And it never hurts to have a 1-Up handy.