It’s Valentine’s Day stargazers, marking the end of the love-themed vault review series, A Fistful of Romances!. What better way to wrap the series than with a mighty shouryuken to your jaw with a fun-filled, action romance? Let’s get ready to rumble!
After a year of heartbreak, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has finally started dating again. However, his roomie, Wallace (Kieran Culkin) and his Sex Bob-omb band-mates think Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) is his poor, unsuspecting rebound girl and they may be right. While in the midst of ‘like’ for Knives, a crazy-cute chica, Ramona V. Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), rolls out of his dreams and into his reality. Scott is determined to win the heart of Ramona, but her seven evil exes emerge to thwart their budding relationship.
Writer-director Edgar Wright along with writer Michael Bacall have brought Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novels to glorious, graphically-influenced life. Pilgrim has the usual awkward cadence familiar to Wright’s previous films; bouts of wildly fun action balanced with witty discourse that result in a sort of stuttering unevenness that strangely works (kinda like this sentence).
Pilgrim works for many reasons, but foremost is Wright’s stylish mash-up of video games and movies finished off with a dash of Gilliam and a pinch of sitcom for flavor. It’s like Wright watched Uwe Boll’s video-game flick, House of the Dead, and made posilutely sure Pilgrim was the exact opposite.
Kudos on casting Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim; he’s awesome. Cera has the lovable-slacker, wannabe-rocker shtick down cold and works every minute of it. Winstead smolders as Ramona; her vibe instantly conveys why she’s the object of affection to so many. Wong is also adorably hopeless as Scott’s would-be gal.
Even the smaller roles are on point. If you don’t know all the actors portraying the evil exes and Scott’s cohorts, I won’t spoil it, but they all bring a special something to the table (Arrested Development fans will get a huge kick out of one ex in particular). Clifton Collins, Jr. and Thomas Jane make an absolutely riotous appearance… but I’ve already said too much. I could spend another couple of paragraphs praising the cast, but, point is, together they work well.
The uniqueness of Scott’s battles keeps Pilgrim fresh. I love a good fight, but if I had to watch Scott clamor through level after level, bruised and beaten, the movie would have gotten stale. Instead, Scott must use both his wits, bassist skills, and Street Fighter savvy with each new opponent. Wright cleverly skirts around the severity of Pilgrim’s battle-to-the-death scenarios, so squeamish folks need not fret.
Have I mentioned how lovable Cera is as Scott and how lucky he is to score a wicked cute dame like Winstead to be Ramona? Just checking. The fervor with which Scott pursues Ramona is endearing. Although Ramona ranks as a ten to Scott’s zero, their chemistry keeps you rooting for them.
I was as giddy as a schoolgirl the first time I saw the Pilgrim trailer. When I saw it in theaters, I was ecstatic that my excitement was not misplaced. Now having seen it multiple times, I’m still discovering the subtle nuances and I’m certain Scott and Company will continue to deliver the same knockout hilarity for countless viewing to come.