Saturday, September 04, 2010

SCOTT PILGRIM vs. THE WORLD - Heart-stripped Part Deux

So, I want to state that I DO think I have a sense of humour and I'm not some kind of kill-joy. It's not that I hate all things comic book or gamer or hipster, although lately Michael Cera has started to annoy me with his one-note, "hey I'm so geeky, but in a sort of superior way to you", schtick. I think what gets me with these hipsters is the fact that they're all making so much damn mainstream money out of trying to be counter-cultural. Like you can be counter-culture when your interviewed in Interview magazine. Anyways, despite my hipster-fatigue, I was REALLY looking forward to SCOTT PILGRIM vs THE WORLD for the simple fact that I think its director and co-adapter, Edgar Wright, is some kind of comedy genius. This is the man who, with SHAUN OF THE DEAD and the absolutely amazing HOT FUZZ made movies that combined a post-modern, slippery playfulness take on genre-cinema with real heart. And, boys and girls, you gotta have heart. Without heart - without characters that we emotionally engage with - no movie, no matter how clever and witty and inventive, is worth my time. And SCOTT PILGRIM really wasn't worth my time.

This is the concept. Scott Pilgrim is a loser, hipster, geek who plays in a band. He has no money but he can still afford cool trainers. (See video above.) He's dating a psycho-stalker high school chick called Knives Chau who is NOT as cool as her name would suggest and definitely needs to get to a SLAA meeting. But he really wants to be dating a hipster chick called Ramona Flowers, who has outlandishly coloured hair and Seven Evil Ex-es. I have yet to fathom why either girl would want to date Scott - let alone his ex-es, band-mate Kim, and now-successful rock-star, Natalie/Envy. He's a scrawny, incompetent, infantile guy who looks pre-pubescent. I mean, I know some girls like unthreatening, but this is unreal. Anyway, back to the movie. By quasi-dating Ramona, Scott unleashes the Seven Evil Ex-es who he has to fight, video-game stylee, in order to be with her; or gain self-respect; or discover who he really wants to be with; or something. Honestly, by about fight number three I was seriously losing interest. A mock video-game fight HAS NO STAKES. If you lose you don't die - you just click for your second life. If you win, there's just another stupid fight around the corner. And who cares who these characters end up with anyways? Yes the visual tricks are fun - the little knowing comments editorialising the action - and yes, it IS funny to take the piss out of Vegans and pretentious record producers but COME ON! This movie is a one-trick pony. Clever for the first ten minutes, but then repetitive, trite and superficial. I want and expect more from Edgar Wright. I want to see real friendship on screen - friendship like that shared between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in SHAUN and HOT FUZZ. Not this heart-stripped clever-clever nonsense.

Additional tags: Michael Bacall, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Ben Lewis, Aubrey Plaza, Nigel Godrich

SCOTT PILGRIM vs. THE WORLD is currently on release in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ireland, the UK and Iceland. It opens in late September in Croatia, Estonia, Sweden and Israel. It opens in October in Finland, Norway, Turkey, Greece, Brazil, Argentina and Singapore. It opens in November in Malaysia and Italy and in December in Greece and Spain. It opens in January 2011 in Germany and the Netherlands.

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