Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Year: 2010
Studio: Universal
Director: Edgar Wright
Producer: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright/Michael Bacall/Brian Lee O'Malley
Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Keiran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza

I remember this movie being the subject of considerable hand wringing among film types because of it being a box office failure, many people dismissing mere money in favour of assuring us that the real measure of a movie is whether it stands the test of time and people love it (the same people, it has to be said, who breathlessly report box office numbers when movies they love are successful).

If it failed, it's because of what Tarantino and Rodriguez's Grindhouse proved to Hollywood accountants and studio executives – the demographic marketers assumed would love the movie proved to be way smaller than they thought.

It struck me as the bastard love child of He Died With a Falafel In His Hand and Beasts of the Southern Wild. The former because it was tapping into the zeitgeist of cool Gen Y-ers right now, having grown up on video games, wanting to be in bands, dying their hair crazy colours and grappling with young love.

And the latter because it seems to go into the world their minds occupy, where everything is relatable to some fixture of pop culture and it's not clear what's real and what's imagined or by whom. Tossing grungy share house living, superpowers, video games, indie music and the quest to get the girl in together it's a meta-comment on the hero's journey and how kids today might see it play out.

Michael Cera plays Michael Cera (again), young Canadian hipster Scott, who spies the ravishing Ramona Flowers (Winstead, refreshingly less perky than she's ever been before) and dreams of winning her heart. But before he can he has to extricate himself from his relationship with his current schoolgirl girlfriend. But there's a somewhat bigger challenge – he has to beat her seven evil exes in videogame-style battles complete with game physics and a rain of coins and bonus points whenever he vanquishes one of them.

Despite Cera's very modern 'aw shucks' persona, the character of Scott is revealed to be something of a jerk, having cheated on several former girlfriends and not man enough to break up with his current squeeze when he wants someone else. Not that I think that's why it didn't connect with enough people to return the budget – that might have something to do with the slightly repetitive nature of plot/fight/plot/fight that all started to feel a little similar after awhile.

Director Edgar Wright's said he wanted it to be structured like a musical – only with characters breaking into fights instead of songs – and maybe that was the problem for me as well as many others.

It was always destined to be a DVD movie though, crammed with so many game references you'd have to be 20, have a history as a dedicated gamer or watch it repeatedly to get them all. While it was a fun distraction, I don't think I'd revisit it again except to listen to what are destined to be very detailed commentaries.

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