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Published on August 13th, 2010 | by simeon

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera, is a young man whose life is going nowhere fast. At 23, he describes himself as in between jobs and spends his free time playing bass in a struggling band. But Scott does have a girlfriend named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), never mind that she is still in high school and things are about as chaste as they can get. Undaunted, Scott keeps plugging away despite the supportive taunts of his gay roomie Wallace (Kieran Culkin), and the members of his band.

Things change for Scott when he meets a girl named Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), at a party. Ramona shows no interest in Scott but he’s inexplicably drawn to her and eventually gets the roller blading delivery girl to go out with him, despite the strong protests of his sister Stacey (Anna Kendrick), and his drummer/ex-girlfriend Kim (Allison Pine). The upswing Scott’s life takes at meeting the girl of his dreams and his band’s shot at a recording deal is tempered by the complications of choosing between Knives, who is becoming more clingy, and Ramona, who brings with her a lot of angry baggage.

This baggage actually comes in the form of seven evil exes whom Scott must battle and defeat if he wishes to continue dating her. Scott accepts the challenge and finds himself in a life and death battle with some true psychos, all of whom have strange powers and appear out of nowhere to pummel Scott. I will not spoil the surprises but suffice it to say that the exes are played by some great names, and each one brings plenty of humor to go with the action.

Action and music blend well with comedy and romance and the video game-inspired fight sequences complete with numerous inside jokes for gamers are truly a delight. The frantic sequences mix music, and over the top action with cartoonish gags and humor in a winning formula. Seeing Scott take flying leaps across a room to battle for Ramona and rebounding from one pummeling after another is great fun. Scott give as good as he gets, learning at times that brains will win out over brawn.

The film has a frantic pacing that Director Edgar Wright never lets get out of control. Like his great work in Shaun of the Dead, Wright keeps the characters and their relationships at the center of the film, making them not only relatable but easy to root for despite the bizarre scenario the characters find themselves in.

The film is based on a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley and delivers a fun adventure that should delight fans of the novel as well as video gamers everywhere. The film knows who its audience is and plays the zany plot with a wink and smile and does not get caught up with intricate plotlines and overly complex characters. Instead the movie keeps the attention on the action and the great cast of characters. Cera does his best work yet in the title role and Culkin nearly steals every scene he is in as does Wong. Jason Schwartzman shines as the uber villain Gideon and rounds out the effective cast in this pleasant surprise of the summer.

4 stars out of 5.

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