15 August 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs the World

As the movie opens Scott is a twenty-something slacker living in Toronto, trying to recover from being dumped by she who will not be named about a year ago. He is living in what looks like a bomb shelter across from the house he grew up in, dating a high schooler, and plays with his friends in a garage band.

Out of nowhere Scott meets the girl of his dreams, when she rollerblades... through his dream. As Scott finds when he finally meets her in real life, her name is Ramona Flowers. He pursues her and no sooner than they have the barest possibility of a relationship Scott is confronted by the challenge posed by her seven evil exes. It seems that Ramona’s seven exes want to control her life and will kill anyone who even attempts to date her. Undaunted, Scott carries on and it’s not long before he’s attacked by the first evil ex.

The world Scott inhabits is one where spending hours and hours playing combat video games in the arcade is suitable preparation for being able to perform feats of martial arts in real life. So despite his outwardly mild appearance, Scott is no pushover for the evil exes. He has mad martial art combat skills honed by years of playing video games.

The story of Scott’s relationship with Ramona and his friends actually works pretty well. These are likable, interesting people, trying to connect and find meaning in their lives. There is a lot of wit and humor and the seven evil exes are a nice metaphor for the challenges of a new relationship. Unfortunately the seven evil exes and all the screen time devoted to them almost drag down and sink the picture. The fight sequences which start out visually compelling start to feel a little overwhelming and even boring. I found myself wishing the fights would be over so we could get back to those really interesting characters and find out what is going on with them.

Parts of the film strike this marvelous pitch perfect witty whimsical note that I would have loved to have seen maintained throughout. Unfortunately that is not the case. It's a movie that could have been great, but ends up being rather ordinary. Still I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would and would recommend it.

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