Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Rating: D+

Dir: Edgar Wright
Star: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Ellen Wong

I hate Michael Cera. Ever time I see his vapid, pussy-bitch face, I have to resist a strong urge to give him a good kerb-stomping. Nothing personal, Michael. I think it’s because I first saw you in the abomination which was Juno, and you’ve played exactly the same emo waste of oxygen ever since. You should have started off your career torturing paedophiles, like Ellen Page. Then I might have liked you. Instead, you are the reason I ignored Scott Pilgrim at the cinema, even though it’s directed by the man who also did one of my all-time favourite films. I wouldn’t even rent it on DVD, because I want Cera’s career to go down in flames, when studios realize everything he touches turns to shit. Yes, this is irrational hatred at its most savage.

However, truth is, even putting that aside, this movie isn’t actually very good. It’s more of a fanboy wish-fulfillment wank, with its useless hero having to defeat in battle, the seven evil ex-boyfriends of Ramona Flowers (Winstead) so he can have her for himself. Why does this geek with no job have super martial-arts skills? Is Scott a fan of the films? Has he trained? It’s never explained. That makes it like just about everything else here, such as the plethora of video-games references, which make no sense, since we barely see him pick up a controller. Like most of the film, those nods start off amusing, but lose out through over-repetition. By the fourth or fifth time a villain dissolves into a shower of coins and a points score, it provokes yawns, and don’t get me started on the apparent need to accompany every sound-effect with a visual caption.

The supporting cast are likely the best thing about this, notably Culkin as the acerbic gay room-mate and Wong as Cera’s opening girl-friend. The martial-arts sequences are also actually pretty well-staged, and it’s clear Wright is a fan of Stephen Chow, with one battle particularly reminiscent of i.e. ripped-off wholesale from, Kung Fu Hustle. Otherwise, it differs sharply from Shaun or Hot Fuzz, in that those were solid films, even if you didn’t get all the references [much though that enhanced the entertainment value if you did]. Here’s there’s precious little except the references, proving that building a 112-minute movie around them is almost destined to fail.