Scott Pilgrim epitomizes style over substance in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Issue date: 8/27/10 Section: Focus
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The graphic novel series has been acclaimed for its silly, surrealist, rapid-fire humor and references to various aspects of nerd culture. It also offers an endearing Canadian slice-of-life, highlighting various Toronto landmarks and activities typical of young adults in the city. Barring a few confusing and completely nonsensical plot developments that require considerable suspension of disbelief, the story develops mostly unlikeable characters into ones readers can care about, and culminates in a rather heartwarming ending. Unfortunately, most of these qualities did not survive the transition to the big screen.
The film, starring a clueless and emotionally bankrupt Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, strips the original story of its tact and character development and progresses with awkward teenage drama at lightning speed, leaving behind any notion of actual romance, reasons to care about the characters, or reasons for the characters to care about each other. A lot of the dialogue is ripped verbatim from the books, but is presented at such an unnaturally rapid pace that the feelings don't have a chance to sink in. It is simply awkward and likely to have viewers forming some the awkward turtle with their hands.
Gone are the majority of references and scenes that take the viewer to the wonderful land of Toronto, with the exceptions of the very direct statement that that is where the story takes place, as well as a single visit to Pizza Pizza, Ontario's largest pizzeria chain. Gone are the more clever and accurate geeky gaming references in exchange for gimmicky tack-ons that lead the more astute to believe that the screenwriter has never really played a video game, or the less astute to solidify their opinion that such activities remain synonymous with the word "loser." Subdued are the supporting characters that add depth to Scott's world and backstory.