One man’s quest for love could result in a little more than a broken heart in Edgar Wright’s video game-styled comedy based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
A blitzkrieg on the senses from the opening frames, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World will appeal to young, techno-savvy audiences who live vicariously through their joypads and remotes.
Sound effects produce elongated on screen captions like BEEEEEEEEPP and when the characters fight, their blows land with a mighty THUD or KAPOW.
Editing is frenetic, though thankfully the action sequences don’t reduce to an incomprehensible blur, complimented by a loud, rocking soundtrack.
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is the 22-year-old bass guitarist with the band Sex Bob-omb, which also includes guitarist Stephen Stills (Mark Webber), drummer Kim Pine (Alison Pill) and lifelong fan Young Neil (Johnny Simmons), who knows all of the songs and riffs by heart.
The eponymous strummer doesn’t enjoy a roaring success with girls and to stave off the loneliness, he begins dating 17-year-old Chinese Catholic schoolgirl Knives Chau.
Gay roommate Wallace Wells (Keiran Culkin) is horrified and immediately sends a text to Scott’s sister Stacey (Anna Kendrick), who tries and fails to reason with her little brother.
Then Scott meets the girl from his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and he is instantly smitten.
They share a night together and everything seems perfect, apart from the small matter than Scott has neglected to tell Knives that he is going to dump her.
During Sex Bob-omb’s first round performance at the Toronto International Battle of the Bands, Ramona’s ex-boyfriend Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha) challenges Scott to a duel to the death.
“If we’re going to date, you might have to defeat my seven evil exes,” Ramona reveals.
So the plucky musician must face Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), Roxy Richter (Mae Whitman), the Katayanagi Twins (Keita Saitou, Shoto Saito) and record label supremo Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman).
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is an entertaining romp with a snappy script littered with choice one-liners.
The stylised digital effects are very cute at first like the little meter that appears on screen when Scott visits the toilet, and gradually empties as he relieves himself.
However, the bombardment lasts for almost two hours and by the end of the film, we feel almost as exhausted as the characters.
Cera plays the same role, yet again, albeit with a bass guitar in his hand, and Winstead does her best not to crack a smile as the girl with a knack for dating bad guys.
Just like the end of a video game, when the player gets a Continue? option to insert more coins, Wright’s film concludes with a countdown to more potential adventures with Scott and the gang.
STAR RATING: ***