Written by Michael Baccall and Edgar Wright
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Stacey Pilgrim: Are you legitimately moving on or are you just being insane?
Scott Pilgrim: Can I get back to you on that?
By the time you reach a certain age, if you’ve tried at all to make connections with other human beings, you are bound to bring a significant amount of baggage to any table you sit at. One of the more challenging aspects of dating is figuring out how to keep your own issues in check while navigating the mysterious aspects of your partner’s past as it is slowly revealed to you. Fortunately for the majority of us, this particular challenge does not usually entail fighting and vanquishing seven evil exes in order to be with the one we love. Unfortunately for Scott Pilgrim is SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD, it does.
Scott Pilgrim is many things. For one, he is a charming, misguided smooth talker who knows deep down that he isn’t fooling anyone really. He is also the hero of a cult favorite graphic novel series by Ontario born cartoonist, Bryan Lee O’Malley. Now, he is the subject of Edgar Wright’s third feature film, embodied by everyone’s favorite younger and clueless romantic, Michael Cera. A little more than a year after his last relationship ended, 23-year-old Pilgrim has just started dating Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), a high school girl, of the clichéd uniformed variety. His band, Sex Bo-Bomb, know what he’s up to; his sister (the underused Anna Kendrick) and best friend (the snide but supportive Kieran Culkin) know he’s avoiding. In fact, Scott is pretty much the only one around who thinks everything is going just fine, until he meets Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), that is. Ramona is a game changer.
Ramona has got her share of demons to deal with and has decided to leave her past where it belongs with a fresh start in Toronto, where the film is proudly shot and set. She soon discovers that she can’t just run away from her problems, as much as you’d like to. No, sometimes you have to get your new boyfriend to take on each and everyone of your exes one at a time in order to move on. I don’t know about you but I don’t usually like to talk about my exes with new people I meet until I’m almost sure they aren’t going anywhere so I feel awful bad for Ramona; her exes, going all the way back to grade school, have formed some sort of evil league of exes that follows her around and ensures that she never finds happiness. That’s a whole lot of garbage for our boy Scott to take out but Ramona is worth it. As much as Scott has to physically battle her past, Ramona is the new that could finally help Scott let go of his old.
“Fighter” is not likely the first word people would use to describe Cera’s composure. (I believe that honour would have to go “awkward”.) Still, given everything he has to take on in SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD, he pulls it off despite his awkwardness and because of one other key factor, the hallucinatory direction of Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ). The world Scott must take on, according to Wright, is one where neo-hipster apathy dictates every aspect of existence and the video game mentality that has permeated the thin skin of all its inhabitants not only dominates the fight sequences but operates on a symbolic level as well. Anything worth having is worth fighting for and Scott hasn’t fought for anything in ages. Yet, as he passes level after level, he sees that he’s not so bad at this game after all. He just needed someone worth playing for and watching him step up his game is so much fun, you’ll be taking on your own world before you know it. Consider yourselves warned, exes.