“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is definitely not a film for everyone. And based on the sparse opening weekend crowd with which we saw the movie last weekend, it’s probably not going to make a truckload of money. But anyone who is interested in original, off-beat, even off-the-wall cinema – cinema that doesn’t care about what rules it might be breaking – should give it a chance.
I don’t really know how to describe the movie except to say that it’s like a teen-angst comedy (something John Hughes might have made back in the day) crossed with the video game “Soulcalibur.” And if you have to Google “Soulcalibur,” that would be another reason you might have a little problem with “Scott Pilgrim.”
Michael Cera plays Pilgrim, the bassist in a band that calls itself Sex Bob-omb. Despite looking like the biggest dweeb on the block, Scott seems to be surrounded by cute girls. He’s still smarting from being dumped a year ago by a blonde bombshell, and he’s currently dating a cute high school girl with the unlikely name of Knives Chau. But then he meets what he thinks is the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers, and before long he is head-over-heels in crazy love, with the emphasis on crazy. Unfortunately, it turns out that Ramona has lots of evil ex-boyfriends (and one evil ex-girlfriend), and in order to win Ramona’s heart, he must defeat the entire “guild of evil ex-boyfriends.” In the meantime, Knives is not too happy, and neither are Scott’s bandmates, who are looking forward to a battle of the bands, the winner of which lands a recording contract.
It’s even more complicated than that, but the rest should be saved for viewing onscreen. Cera is very good as Pilgrim, Allison Pill, Mark Webber and Johnny Simmons are great as the bandmates, and Ellen Wong is terrific as knives. Anna Kendrick is almost unrecognizable from the character she played in “Up in the Air,” but brings a sarcastic vitality to her role as Scott’s sister. And Kieran Culkin, as Scott’s gay roommate, steals nearly every scene he’s in.
The movie was directed by Edgar Wright, who previously brought us the terrific Simon Pegg vehicles “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” I didn’t like “Scott Pilgrim” as much as I did those two, but it is well worth a visit to the Cineplex, and cements Wright’s reputation as a director who is more than willing to take chances.
Not for everyone, but if your tastes veer towards the offbeat, give “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” a chance.