"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" Review: Michael Cera Gets Soul
For all of Scott Pilgrim's adherence to the graphic novels upon which it's based — the pop art pows and thwacks, the videogame imagery, the rock 'n' roll references, the merging of chop-socky action and puppy-dog-sweet sentiment — it goes even deeper, conveying the ache pulsating between the lines in Bryan Lee O'Malley's original comic. Edgar Wright's film version is still essentially the oldest story in the book: Boy meets girl and has to fight to keep her. And the boy — Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera — is a stunted mess stranded in deep-freeze Canada. He's got himself a high school girlfriend named Knives (Ellen Wong), plays bass in a decent-but-never-gonna-make-it pop-punk trio called Sex Bob-Omb, and shares an apartment and bed with gay roomie Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin). At first, Scott's but another in a looooong line of mopey, tousled kidults played by Cera, who seems to have a range from A to A. But as soon as Scott meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who brings with her seven evil exes whom Scott has to dispatch if he wants to keep going out with her, the kid sprouts some fuzz on his peaches. Out goes the whine; down goes a straight shot of big-boy bourbon. As he did in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Wright immerses his heroes in pop culture's detritus and diversions but doesn't drown them in it. You don't have to be dazzled or tickled by the movie or get every joke to be touched by it too.
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