REVIEW: Sexless Geek Isn't as Heroic, Romantic as Scott Pilgrim Thinks
Everyone has the right to love the relics of his or her childhood: PacMan as opposed to Grand Theft Auto, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over Dora the Explorer, New Kids on the Block trumping Taylor Swift. But nostalgia can be as cloying as it is comforting, and there comes a time when that wardrobe of ringer T's emblazoned with cartoon characters ought to be left behind. Especially if you're a grown-up guy and you have any interest in, you know, actually sleeping with a girl.
Scott Pilgrim, the knock-kneed hero of Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, hasn't figured that out yet, and his persistent Trix-are-for-kids schtick is supposed to be charming. As he's played by Michael Cera, Scott is meant to be the underdog you root for -- you should want him to get the girl. But to get the girl -- in this case, a deadpan minx named Ramona, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead -- shouldn't he have to express some interest in her, to progress beyond moony-eyed infatuation? To talk to her, to find out what she likes and doesn't like, to avoid boring her with useless trivia that's of interest only to him, to make something other than garlic bread when he invites her over for dinner?
But Scott Pilgrim is a superhero who wears his security blankie as both a cape and a force field: His own feelings of uncertainty are all that matter, and they're the motor that drives Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, with all the ferocity of a rubber band wound around a propeller. Scott is an aimless 22-year-old living in Toronto. We'll later learn that he's "between jobs," though what he might want to do with his life is never made clear. For now, he spends his days practicing with his rock band (a suitably noisy little outfit called Sex Bob-Omb) and also happens to be dating, if only half-heartedly, a 17-year-old from a local high school, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), who's clearly flattered by this older guy's attention and worships him and his band breathlessly.
Scott's bandmates (played by Mark Webber and Alison Pill; Johnny Simmons is their hanger-on and roadie) tease him mildly about Knives, though they realize she's a nice kid. And Knives is certainly easy to impress: She listens to Scott's stream of prattling about the genesis of Pac-Man as if it were some sort of holy text. But the woman Scott will really fall for, Winstead's Ramona, isn't so easy to please. When he first spots her -- she's a cranky beauty with a shock of fuchsia hair -- it's love at first sight. But she's not interested in his PacMan factoids. What gives? He pressures her, in a gratingly low-key way, to go on a date with him, and she relents. But as their involvement becomes more serious, Scott learns that to win his love object he must complete a series of tasks: As the result of some not-really-explained curse, he must vanquish Ramona's former paramours -- otherwise known as the Seven Evil Exes -- with nothing but his own scrawny limbs and perhaps his bass guitar.
Pages: 1 2