"I wanna know Ramona, am I the only one? Tell me. And she said, 'You're not the only one, but you're the best, Bradley.' And now I'm waiting for my ruca." - Sublime
Whenever I think about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I can't help but sing the lyrics to Sublime's "Waiting for my Ruca" in my head. Most likely it's because Scott's love interest is named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but as I thought about it, the song had relevance to the film. Scott must defeat Ramona's seven evil exes in order to continue dating her, and she tells him he's the nicest, best guy she's ever dated. In this case though, instead of waiting, Scott must kick some ex-lover ass Nintendo-style to win the game of love.
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) lives in Toronto, plays bass in a mediocre rock band called Sex Bob-omb, lives with and shares a bed with his gay roommate Wallace, and since his ex-girlfriend dumped him and moved to Montreal to become a famous rock star, he has taken to giving himself haircuts. The latter explains why Cera looks younger and younger, despite playing a 22-year-old, which is his actual age. Cera basically plays the same character he always plays, which is essentially what I imagine to be himself. It's clear, after a string of roles that includes Superbad, Youth in Revolt, and my personal favorite, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, that Cera has the market cornered on the geeky, lovelorn leading man.
The film is super stylized and the special effects succeed in making the viewer feel like they're in a video game, or at the least that Scott is. Based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim sets a new standard for graphic novel adaptations. The phone rings and we see "Riiiiiing" on the walls, Scott plays the bass and we see "D-d-d-d-d-d" coming from the strings, and my personal favorite was the simple "thonk, thonk, thonk" that appeared when Scott banged his head against a telephone pole. The quick cutting and jump cuts put Scott in the next scene before you even know you're there and move the story along in comic book fashion.
Scott Pilgrim has a stellar supporting cast, which boosts the confidence in young Hollywood's move into adulthood. Kieran Culkin, who we haven't seen much of since 2002's dark comedy Igby Goes Down, plays Scott's roommate Wallace, who provides comic relief throughout the entire film. Wallace is always the first to rat out Scott to his younger sister Stacey, played by Anna Kendrick of Twilight and Up in the Air fame. This time around we get to see Kendrick do funny, and she's great.
All of Sex Bob-omb's music was written by Beck, which is pretty awesome in and of itself, and played by the actors. The music isn't his best work ever, but it wasn't supposed to be. The members of Sex Bob-omb always question their level of sucking, and are supposed to be pretty mediocre. Whenever they play though, the film morphs into a pretty awesome music video. Music plays a large role, as Sex Bob-omb is in a battle of the bands, and opens a show for Scott's ex's band, The Clash at Demonhead, which sounds more than a bit like the indie pop of Metric, a band that happens to appear on the film's soundtrack.
The League of Evil Exes that Scott must obliterate in order to be with Ramona was masterminded by her most recent ex, indie music producer and theater manager, Gideon (Jason Schwartzman), who you can tell by his name is a d-bag. Most of Ramona's exes have magic powers of some kind, or just a strong vendetta against her, but the Katayanagi twins, exes five and six, seem kind of thrown in and could have been done without.
Through his battles Scott learns important lessons about love, friendship and self-respect, bringing Scott Pilgrim home to be a coming-of-age success story. Scott may not have psychic vegan powers or be a pretty good skater-turned-action-movie-star like Ramona's exes, but he's definitely the best person. With his quick wit and dedication, odds are Scott won't be waiting for his ruca for long.