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With Jim Sabatini

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson and Kieran Culkin

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 13, 2010 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.

This freehanded action adventure appeals to the nerdy teenager in everyone, especially those brought up on video and computer games sensitive to martial arts.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World stars Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and is built on the fantastical as Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) stages a fast frenzy with characters who detest boredom. It may be the down-to-earth more serious types and those unfamiliar with this very compacted interpretation of Bryan Lee O'Nalley's graphic novels who'll find it most ho-hum.

What stands out in the adventures of the eponymous character as he battles his would-be girlfriend's seven evil exes to win her love is the eye-popping visuals with broad and hyper strokes.

Cera's 22-year-old unemployed gawky bass guitarist Scott has problems getting rid of girlfriends while playing for Sex Bob-omb. Snowy Toronto is the setting as the garage band guy has to deal with Envy Adams (Brie Larson of Greenberg) who dumped him while getting to know bubbly 17-year-old Chinese schoolgirl Knives, as Ellen Wong eschews stereotypes. His confidante is gay roommate Wallace, a wry Kieran Culkin.

Someone new gives him an about face when not around the music shop or playing video games. Winstead's indifferent, mysterious and colorful Ramona Flowers (her hair can change from fuchsia to chartreuse) lifts Scott out of his languor as he'll go through a lot to be a most worthy suitor.

Seven x's under Ramona's phone number make nirvana not so easy for Scott as Cera (pretty good in Youth In Revolt) shakes up his image here also.

So, Scott has to faceoff against the wild former beaus with comic-book, television, and video game references with a kind of retro feel as all sorts of choreographed action permeates the frames which go into slow-motion or split as necessary.

Wright and Michael Bacall are the scribes who take this high-concept into issues like self-esteem. But, the storytelling pales to the formation of the characters who populate this manic fantasia with flying, kung-fu moves, as well as pink-cloud letters and dancing hearts.

Chris Evans (The Losers) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) injects some personality into their deadly exes, which include an actor, a musician, and a vegan academy major. Probably the most impressive confrontation for Scott is with Ramona's last, most imperious ex, Gideon Gordon Graves, a fulsome Jason Schwartzman (Shopgirl, The Darjeeling Limited).

On the distaff end, Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) is Scott's cynical sister Stacey, while Winstead and Wong have much presence in their respective impulsive, innocent turns.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World evolves with some creative, fickle hyperkineticism even if more than a few may not be sold on Cera (Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) or how this character can be such a chick magnet. But, if the experience is more spontaneous and cartoonish than sensible with its light sabres and hitting telephone poles, all of the yearning and despicable forces are ignited with much ambition through a thoughtful, geeky protagonist.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World     B+   B-      A            B+ 

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