09/03/10 (LONDON) Joel Meadows
Scott Pilgrim Versus The World
Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Michael Cera, Ellen Wong, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman
Scott Pilgrim is a film based on the successful Oni Press Original English Language manga series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. The film is directed by Edgar Wright who had hits with the massively overrated Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, like Channel 4 comedy programmes with delusions of grandeur. I went to see this film at Empire in Leicester Square, probably the nicest cinema in the country. Universal have thrown a great deal of money at promoting this film in the misguided attempt to make it a huge summer blockbuster, which it is decidedly not.
What Scott Pilgrim is is a fairly entertaining teen comedy with a few nods to the second-generation video game obsessives who are undoubtedly the film’s largest target audience. Cera plays Pilgrim, the rather wet protagonist of this story, who is forced to fight seven of the ex-lovers of Ramona Flowers (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Hence the opportunity for Wright to pepper the film with videogame-style fights between Pilgrim and a succession of Ramona’s ridiculous-looking former squeezes.
There are some nice moments: Pilgrim’s gay flatmate Wallace Wells (Kieron Culkin) gets a few amusing lines, Schwartzman is suitably over the top as Ramona’s on/off boyfriend Gideon Gordon Graves and it does barrel along at a decent speed. But Cera is the weak link here: he doesn’t have any real onscreen charisma and Winstead is far more interesting to watch, making Cera feel like he’s a supporting player in his own film.
Visually it does have a unique feel and it’s obvious that Wright is a decent stylist. Universal shouldn’t have tried to promote it as a summer blockbuster but let it find its own audience. Scott Pilgrim Versus The World is a likeable teen romcom interspersed with a few fight scenes and will probably do OK in the UK before becoming a huge DVD hit like Kick Ass.