Like many people, I’ve tired of Michael Cera’s whiny, wavering, painfully awkward persona. It was cute back when he was on Arrested Development, but he’s not an adorable kid anymore, and the schtick has gotten very old. When I see that little-boy-lost face, hear that whimpering little voice, I want to throttle him and shout that it’s time to grow the hell up already.
Exasperated as I am with Cera, I wasn’t overly optimistic about his new movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but to my considerable amusement, telling his character to grow the hell up turns out to be the whole point of the movie. Every time I rolled my eyes at Scott, virtually all the other characters rolled their eyes at him, too—a very gratifying development indeed.
But there’s more to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World than eye rolling. Director Edgar Wright (who also cowrote the screenplay adapting Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels) got his start working with Simon Pegg, directing the cult TV show Spaced and the brilliantly satiric movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and with those collaborations, he’s developed a wonderful sense of style, an ability to craft action sequences that are both thrilling and hilarious. That talent serves him well with Pilgrim, which constantly references the aesthetic of O’Malley’s graphic novels as well as countless old video games while still functioning as a exuberant, glossy movie. Thematically, it doesn’t quite come together—the metaphors are hopelessly mixed—but it’s delightful to watch, definitely more fun than your average action comedy.