Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language, and drug references
Profanity:Strong and crude language
Nudity/Sex:Frank and explicit sexual references (gay and straight) and non-explicity sexual situations
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, drug references
Violence/Scariness:Comic-book/gamer style action violence, characters impaled and disintegrated
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:August 13, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 2, 2010

Director Edgar Wright’s latest movie is based on the popular series of graphic novels about Scott Pilgrim, an often-clueless, out of work musician who falls for a girl named Ramona and has to fight her seven evil exes in a mode that is half superhero, half computer game. In other words, it’s a Comic-Con Quadrella.

Those who were born before 1980, don’t recognize gamer terms, and are easily confused by a cuddle puddle of comics, Bollywood, indie music, and the omni-connectedness of the 2010’s, will either find this an imaginative anthropological journey or an unintelligibly precious mish-mash of smug self-awareness. Those who are in the right age group will either find it uniquely speaking to their own sense of alienation mixed with a boundary-less
hive-mind ultimate oversharing — or an unintelligibly precious mish-mash of smug self-awareness.

I thought it was cute and funny and surprisingly sweet. Director Edgar Wright (“Shawn of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”) tells the story with great energy and imagination, incorporating an pan-media range of story-telling techniques. When Scott has a realization, Wright has a quick cut to a parking meter with a needle that swings from the red “no clue” to the green “gets it.” Another character’s feelings are expressed when the pink, fluffy word L-O-V-E wafts in Scott’s direction.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera, of course) is a nice if somewhat clueless guy whose cluelessness is tolerated and sometimes enabled by his roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin, employing a terrific, seen-it-all-and-finds-it-amusing deadpan), his fellow band mates (Sex Bob Omb, and his high school girlfriend Knives (Ellen Wong). Yes, her name is Knives and she is his high school girlfriend not because he met her in high school but because she is in high school. What do they do together? “She tells me about how yearbook club went and once we almost held hands on the bus.”

And then Scott sees Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and in a time-honored tradition that goes back even before Hot Pockets and Nintendo, love will make him braver, stronger, and able to consider the feelings of others for pretty much the first time in his slackery life.

But first he has to fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends, I mean exes. Each one is a physical manifestation of anyone’s insecurities in a new relationship. Will he be strong and brave enough for her? Pure enough? Successful enough? What have they got that he hasn’t got? On the way to understanding, I felt big, pink, fluffy L-O-V-E wafting from me toward the screen.



  • Bob

    Born in 1973 and understood every frame. I was 15 when most of the games that this movie draws from were popular, and I was a heavy gamer at 15.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    That’s great, Bob! Let me know of any gamer references you think will aid in understanding the film.

  • Keith Demko

    Glad and not at all surprised you liked this one so much .. I’ll find out for myself tomorrow morning

  • Will

    I’m a 12-year-old,
    and I’ve wanted to see this for a while.
    Darn it!
    (Just kidding.)
    My parents generally let me see
    some PG-13 (A-Team, Iron Man, Spider Man, etc.)
    Looks like I won’t be seeing this one… :\

  • Allyson

    I was really entertained/surprised by this movie altogether. one of the reasons why i liked it so much was because among all the movies that are based on comic books recently, this one stands out in that its the most like an actual comic book, and it’s pulled off quite nicely. i laughed, gasped, rolled my eyes (in a good way), and had a goofy-happy smile most of the time. my only complaint was that i felt like i needed a nap afterward. im glad you liked it as much as i did!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Great comment, Allyson! I am looking forward to seeing it again. Many thanks.

  • will

    umm this is will again……. i was wondering if you could do a review on the last exorcism? i have been wanting to see the movie for a while but my mom is a little iffy about it…… i read that it was for intense sequences of terror some sexuality and brief language….. my parents dont mind brief language or violence as long as its not like tearing very very graphic…….. i kno you dont usually do horror movies, but it would make my day if you saw this movie..
    and again, thank you for responding to my comment. u really took my comment well and i like that…. u sound like a very kind woman.
    GOD BLESS U!

  • Chee

    When Scott has a realization, Wright *as* a quick cut to a parking meter with a needle that swings from the red “no clue” to the green “gets it.”
    Was as intended to be “has?” :) I’m totally crossing my fingers.
    I saw this today, Nell and I loved it! The cast had such a great chemistry and my favorite has to be Ellen Wong’s portrayal of Knives. According to wikipedia it’s her first movie role? I’m impressed and really hope she gets more roles in the near-future soon! I was afraid the movie would come off as pretentious, what with all of the “pat yourself on the back for knowing this” references, but I felt the references and stylistic touches weren’t clunky insertions at all! It felt so playful and it was so charming and hilarious.
    I have to admit I wasn’t so crazy about the portrayal of Wallace the gay roommate. I enjoyed his deadpan delivery very much but I was very distracted by the movie’s depiction of him and all of the other gay men who appear in the movie as stereotypically sexually promiscuous. I’m sure it was meant to be taken lightly, but it did surprisingly offend me. What’re your thoughts, Nell?
    Great work as always! :)

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Great comment, Chee! I love your term “playful.” Right on the money. I thought the movie was fun whether you recognized the references (many of which I missed as I am not a gamer) or not. Ellen Wong was terrific. I agree about the roommate’s deadpan delivery — it was just right. I think the promiscuity was intended to contrast with Scott’s difficulty and clumsiness in romantic relationships, but I hear you. Thanks (and yes, I’ll fix “as”).

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