Saturday, 18 September 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs the World

I wonder if I should have done a background check on Scott Pilgrim vs the World before I saw it...
I do prefer entering a film with no tangible knowledge of it, and the only thing I knew about Scott Pilgrim vs the World was that it starred Michael Cera, who I think of as a mediocre version of Paul Dano. It sounds harsh, but c’est moi. I’m curious as to what information I’d have found on it. I’m still in a quandary as to the appropriate of describing precisely what Scott Pilgrim vs the World is about. A cinematic video game? A post-adolescent love story? A rock and roll comedy? Each of those descriptions seems incredibly trite.Scott Pilgrim... could easily be surmised to be a film designed to put Cera front and centre. He’s yet to fully break free of the bathetic Bleeker from Juno regardless of the film he’s in – even though he seems to try. I can’t be certain that he’s accomplished that with Scott Pilgrim vs the World, but it doesn’t matter. As protagonist centred as it seems to be, the film exists best as a comedy ensemble. True, the acting’s not necessarily the best thing in it – I’m ridiculously subjective to its hilariously irreverent writing, but the acting’s not far behind. I’m still smarting, somewhat, at the positive response Anna Kendrick earned for her subpar work in Up in the Air but I can say that I’m on my way to letting that go. She’s still every bit as high-strung as Up in the Air’s Natalie – but for some reason it makes sense here – and so does she. She, and Aubrey Plaza, offer two of the very supporting performances that make me smile each time they appear on screen.
It’d be remiss of me to make it seem as if the main cast isn’t doing good work though. I’m not particularly smitten with Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Ramona who seems on point at times and then really bland at others and Ellen Wong’s psychotic groupie of sorts works well but seems to be overused. Measure that against  Alison Pill’s brilliant take on her female drummer that seems to be seriously underused. Speaking of underused, I hope that Johnny Simmon’s career manages to take off he’s on the sidelines in this one but he seems like one to watch. Scott Pilgrim vs the World seems more interested in its male ensemble, and even though – yes – their all crazy caricatures in most instances it doesn’t stop me from finding them all riotous. It’s too easy, but Kieran Culkin really does emerge as best-in-show even if the role seems to be written with all those tongue-in-cheek instances that make a bit too obvious at times. Cera and he keep up a believable banter that contributes to a good bit humour in the film.
I’m still not sure what to make of it, or what it is....I can say, unequivocally, it's the most fun any 2010 release has been so far for me. Yojimbo told me that I’d end up liking Scott Pilgrim vs the World because I was a sucker for romanticism. I hate to think that I’m so transparent, but (damn him) he’s right.


Ryan T. said...

Oh gosh, you really liked it. I mean I could take your meh grade of Inception, but I probably wouldn't be able to take a bad one for this film! WHEW! Crisis averted.

But seriously, great points re: characters/actors that stood out. For me, Kieran Culkin was best-in-show as well but I LOVE that you singled out Johnny Simmons as "the one to watch." Saw him the first time in The Greatest earlier this year with Carey Mulligan, Pierce Brosnan, and Susan Sarandon and he was best-in-show for me in that film.

Simon said...

I wish something like the SAGs would acknowledge how completely awesome the supporting cast is. Kieran Culkin should be in more things.

Fitz said...

If SAG is going to recognize an ensemble group it will be The Town, or Inception.

Robert said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I loved it so much. I'm also glad you mentioned Aubrey Plaza and Allison Pill...the former was simply hysterical, and the latter was, as you said, underused, but she really shined. And Johnny Simmons...I'm super curious to where he'll be going next, I thought he was great in this! Very endearing. So hooray! :)

Julian said...

I think the reason Cera doesn't fully break from his usual awkward teen role is because the character is still a bit of a awkward teen. My fav scene in the film is when he tells of Ramona while drunk. I think in that scene he fully broke from his usual role. But my fav performance of his is still Francois from Youth in Revolt, mainly because he played badass/sarcastic really well, imo of course. I am not saying he is a amazing actor, but it did make me a fan of his(I actually did a blog entry on this)

I feel the movie is mainly targeted at videogame players. I think for those who aren't into videogames, some of the humor may be lost(Like the pee-bar)