It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…
Tuesday night, while my sister and her friend tried to get into the Eat Pray Love promo, my bestie Chris and I went to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World. A year and a half ago, this movie wasn’t even on my radar. And then a great friend told me to read the comic books, and kindly let me borrow his copies. I was hooked; I became a fan. Heck, I even followed Bryan Lee O’Malley on twitter to read things about Scott Pilgrim. See, the ending of the movie was a surprise; the last installment only came out a few weeks ago. So unlike The Watchmen, which I’d been waiting for since 1999, this was a fairly new for me. (Rumors of me screaming with excitement at the mention of Scott Pilgrim during the film Kickass are entirely true however.)
The movie begins with the announcement that Scott Pilgrim is dating a kid from high school. He hasn’t kissed her, maybe held hands just once, but it’s exactly the low stress relationship he needs after a massive break up with his ex, Envy of the new and hip band taking over Toronto and the rest of Canada. Then the girl of his literal dreams enters stage right, and the fun begins. He’s got to defeat her seven evil exs.
Edgar Wright’s last notable films were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, both of which hinged on the comedic timing of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, both brilliant comedic actors. However, there’s a subtle jab here and there about British culture. The big question would be whether or not Wright could tackle the artic wasteland of Toronto, Canada. Turns out it doesn’t matter. Scott Pilgrim was never really about Toronto; it was always about the immature hipster culture. Few of the characters here are adults; they still live in video games and rock and roll schemes. Edgar Wright nails it.
And while Michael Cerra mails in another awkward geeky hipster performance, let’s be honest here: he’s become really good at it. But it’s Kieran Culkin who steals the show as Wallace Wells, Pilgrim’s gay room mate who has the power to bring home multiple guys at once and can drunk dial Scott’s sister even passed out. And although his awesome rating is only 7.5/10, Culkin brings a much needed grounding to the surreal video game lifestyle everyone else plays in. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Ramona, and brings a much needed likeability to the character, something I found lacking from the comic. She also is a spitting image. But what’s great is to see Mae Whitman as Roxy, Ramona’s ex-girlfriend. See Whitman also played Anne Veal on Arrested Development. Cerra and her have great comedic chemistry and it’s wonderful to see them in action once more. (It’s also great to see Mae Whitman screen time. She’s awfully under-used for comedic effect on Parenthood.)
Is Scott Pilgrim the mind-blowing film that is Inception? Absolutely not. Is it more than Julia Roberts Being Pretty in Exotic Places? I’m going to venture and say yes. Besides, Beck and Frank Black did the soundtrack, and that alone is worth seeing.