Scott Pilgrim vs The World (4 stars)

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

A bold mix of romantic comedy, science fiction and video game homage

Writer-director Edgar Wright has made a career out of subverting genres, as demonstrated by his collaborations with actor Simon Pegg: TV's Spaced and the films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. For Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Wright left the safety of British comedy and familiar casts and ventured to Hollywood (although the film was shot in Toronto, Canada) to make his first big-budget blockbuster. It's always a struggle for any director with a particularly British sensibility to make the jump to mainstream America – just ask Danny Boyle. So it's to Wright's credit that he largely succeeds.

He's picked his story well; Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic upon which the action is based is a bold mix of romantic comedy, science fiction and video game homage, genres that Wright is adept at toying with. The plot is suitably wacky: Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is an unemployed member of a band who falls for the hot new girl on the block, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), only to discover that he has to defeat her seven evil exes in battles to the death that are based on video games from Street Fighter to Rock Band. Populating the story with subversive side characters such as the nagging sister (Anna Kendrick) and gay roommate (Keiran Culkin), Wright delights in setting up the tale with a mix of comedy, great production design and Fight Club style visual gags.

On the downside, Cera's standard goofy geek stereotype has become slightly wearing and the narrative, with its constant call for fights, can't avoid a certain degree of repetitiveness. Fans of Zombieland and Kick-Ass will find plenty to enjoy.

General release, Wed 25 Aug.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World (trailer)

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 1h 52min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Edgar Wright
  • Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman

The first big-budget blockbuster from serial subverter Edgar Wright ('Spaced', 'Shaun of the Dead') doesn't disappoint. Typecast geek Cera plays Scott, an unemployed musician who falls hard for Ramona Flowers (Winstead) only to find he must defeat a succession of evil ex-boyfriends in fights to the death based on…