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When we first read the press material for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, two things occurred to what passes for my mind. First, that Bryan Lee O'Malley, the author of the original material -- the first of six volumes of graphic novels which this fanboy had never heard of -- has some sort of fixation on the Stills-Young incarnation of Crosby Still Nash and Young. Second, that I was finally far too old to be watching kiddies young enough to be my children discover love, illicit or not, and rock 'n' roll (and not necessarily in that order). Cranky walked in to our screening a grumpy 53 year old. We walked out feeling at least 30 years younger. Thus . . .
As much a loving nod to the first generation of video games as it is a tribute to Japanese anime like Astroboy and western rock and roll and everything wonderful and good in between, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is . . .
IN SHORT: Best Movie of the Year (so far). Really. [Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references. 108 minutes]
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22 year old bass player for the perennially unemployed band called Sex Bob-Omb (meaning: he's just like any other would be rock 'n' roll star wannabe). Scott lives in Toronto Canada. When first encountered, he is being lambasted by his sister Stacey (Anna Kendrick) and Sex Bob-Omb band mates -- drummer Kim Pine (Alison Pill), front man and songwriter Stephen Stills (Mark Webber) and occasional member Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) -- because his new girlfriend is a 17 year old high school student named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) -- is, well, she's seventeen and he's not!
As anyone who has suffered through high school knows, it is always the senior girls who ignore the rest of the boys in the class to hook up with college types. Scott isn't a college type. He's just a lucky, lucky dog. Having nothing better to do, his band rehearses. Knives loves what she hears and the band's first groupie is formed.
Well, technically, no. Scott and Knives haven't done the deed. They haven't even kissed or held hands or anything. Loser.
But when said loser goes to a party, he sees one pink-haired Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) -- well, it's pink then. That will change -- and is struck down by the proverbial major thumpa thumpas. Trying to make conversation with the lovely sourpuss, who happens to be busy holding up a wall, is beyond even him. Nevertheless, Scott Pilgrim has to know more about this mystery girl. What he manages to discover is that she's from New York (that means she's exotic, at least to the Canadian Scott.). Other than the fact that Ramona may or may not be one of those illegals sneaking up from south of the border is the awful challenge posed by every one of her previous intimate friends -- Scot must battle each and every one of these "Evil Exes" in a battle of martial arts and special punch-'em-through-the-wall effects.
Yeah, guys used to compose poems or write love songs. That's so last millennium . . .
But first, Scott has to dump the school kid to make Ramona his sole love interest. So Knives is passed over to Young Neil and the very literal battle(s) for the heart of young miss Flowers begins. First up is Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), whose initial email to Scott explained the situation. Scott skimmed and deleted said email, which irritated the ex worse than any comment that could be made about Matthew's fixation on Duran Duran's makeup could. Among the rest of the ex-es is a pro-skateboarder named Lucas Lee (Chris Evans); a power vegan bassist Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh) and an ex-girlfriend Envy Adams (Brie Larson). Envy fronts a competing band called The Clash at Demonhead.
Even worse, the leader of the band of EE's is GIdeon Graves (Jason Schwartzmann), the man who holds the future of the band in his hands. He's got a recording contract to offer and, well, temptation has ripped apart many bands in the history of music. Signing the contract was a big mistake. But it brings Scott face to face for the battle with Gideon
With each victory comes a literal explosion of coins or game tokens or something. Don't ask us what that means. We were having too much fun watching the movie.
Rounding out the cast are Scott's obnoxious on again off again girlfriend, Julie Powers (Aubrey Plaza), and his roommate, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin). Wallace is luckier than Scott, who should really be looking for a new roommate. Just our opinion. Wouldn't want to give anything away . . .
And we're not going to. We haven't had as much fun in the dark -- professionally speaking, of course -- in the last fifteen years of reviewing.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, he would have paid . . .
A happy rockin' joy joy of a movie
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