Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first put Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in my DVD player. It was not even close to what I got. For those who are not familiar with the plot Scott Pilgrim [Michael Cera], the bass player in a small band, has fallen for the new "cool girl" in town, Ramona Flowers [Mary Elizabeth Winstead]. In order to date her he must first defeat her seven "evil exes".

Scott has baggage of his own. When he first sees Ramona he is dating Knives Chau [Ellen Wong] in a relationship that if it ever went beyond the hand-holding stage would have him arrested for statutory rape in several states. His relationship prior to Knives was with the lead singer of a number one band that is, of course, Knives' favorite group and prior to this (I told you he had baggage) he dated the drummer of his group, who is obviously still holding a grudge, but stays around for the music. His roommate is gay, who understands and is happy that Scott isn't, and in many cases offers the best advice, but also broadcasts Scott's failures quicker than you can say, "How did you do that?"

This is not the type of film I normally watch. However, it rises above others of its ilk by turning Scott's life into a videogame, complete with scores and cash when the villains are defeated, as well as extra lives and points. Each "evil ex" is stronger than the prior one, ending with "The Boss Level" of the game- the 7th ex who holds the fate of not only Scott and Ramona in his hands, but that of his band as well. I became entranced, which surprised me, not only because the approach kept the movie from becoming a sad, sappy comedy, but because I was having a blast trying to figure out the video game references. Obvious ones, at least to me, included Dragon Ball Z, Serious Sam (computer version), and almost all of the Mario Bros. games. I think I also caught a couple of references to Gauntlet and Tron.

This is not going to be everyone's favorite film. My wife says she hated it even though I heard her laughing at bits all the way through. I think the movie was aimed at the under thirty crowd, but those of us sixty and under that were in on the early days of video games will find it entertaining as well.