Thursday, 26 August 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World


Dir: Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead),
Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Chris Evans, Kieran Culkin, Mark Webber, Aubrey Plaza, Brandon Routh, Allison Pill, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Simmons, Jason Schwartzman
USA, 2010

Seen: August 24, 2010

Reason to see: Love for Edgar Wright films & can't resist a Toronto-set film

I have to admit I almost didn't see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World because after watching the trailer, I had a a feeling that I wouldn't connect to film and then didn't want to deal with not being part of the fandom. But, then I realized I'm *not* actually part of the fandom anyway as I haven't read the graphic novels but the fact that it's firmly & proudly set in Toronto and had a game-like quality to it was enough to get me out the door and onto a seat in the theatre.

The basic premise of the film is curious and entertaining in it of itself, as it follows Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) as he crushes on American Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and the if he wants to pursue dating her, he has to defeat her 7 evil exes. That's a clever and charming that is rich with possibilities and provides the film with lots of old school game-like fighting, terminology and analogies. The charm kind of ends with the idea, as the issues I had with the film were predominately the characters. I pretty much didn't like, sympathize or root for anyone in the film, and certainly not Scott. I'm all for rooting for the underdog, but it's hard to root for Scott in his pursuit of Ramona when he's already dating Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). I also didn't really believe him in the fights themselves. And for Ramona, I didn't get the the appeal - was it the "it factor"? Pink hair? Distanced-ness? Cool clothes? Any Torontonian knows all of those things are not that unusual to own town, and it's a little strange to seem them all embodied in an out of towner and then deemed cool. Perhaps it's just that she's from elsewhere and therefore outside the social circle that's comprised of everyone he's either dated, related to or not interested in. I honestly don't know.

Without rooting for anyone, it has hard to get engaged in the film although there were lots of great comedic moments, interesting visuals & editing and a great ensemble cast. In particular, Kieran Culkin is fantastic as Scott's gay roommate Wallace, and he's repeatedly introduced as his "gay roommate Wallace", Anna Kendrick was solid as Scott's sister Stacey and Chris Evans was hilarious and absolutely perfectly cast as one of the evil exes. I did enjoy seeing Toronto up on the screen seeing lots of familiar sites, Canadian money and all around general Torontonian-ness. But I really would have loved to connect more with the characters which overall just felt a little too slacker for me, although I think that's the intent so technically it's hard to call that a fault.

The clearest I can say is that going in I was hesitant going in being unsure if I was the target market, and afterwards I was convinced I wasn't the target market. I know lots of people that have really enjoyed it, but I just didn't connect to it. I wanted a little more heart and a little less level ups.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it, although I don't think I'm the target market
I would watch it again
I'd recommend it as a slacker comedy

9 minutes of preshow including 1 commercial and 3 previews: Little Fockers, Devil and Tron: Legacy

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010


Suzie Ridler said...

I have my hesitations about this movie too. I agree, the Toronto-niss sounds great, would make me homesick in a good way, but overall I think it is (eek!) just too young for me. When did that happen? Great review Shannon!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I admit it's one of the few films I've seen where I thought "Oh man, I'm getting old", but I think it's more not connecting to the characters for me. The Toronto stuff is great though, I did like that aspect of the film.

Bob Turnbull said...

As for Ramona, the appeal is that she's mysterious, sarcastic, takes no shit and has an air of confidence about her. She's also freaking gorgeous. Can't help it, I find Mary Elizabeth Winstead really fetching. The coloured hair doesn't hurt, but she'd look good bald wearing a barrel.

The real question is why she would consent to date Scott. It was a nagging issue with me through much of my first viewing, but I think it was handled well by the end (as she tells him that she was for something uncomplicated - kinda like he was with Knives) and I could even see how she grew to like him given how he fought for her. I guess I wished I liked Scott a bit better in the first half of the film, but then again - 22 year-old guys can be pretty self-centered. At least, that's what I seem to remember I was like...Waaaaaay back then...

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