There’s a fundamental disconnect factor at the heart of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Universal, 8.13) that no one I’ve read has mentioned, so I guess I’ll have to. Why do fans of comic-book adaptations always seem so undiscriminating, so willing to unconditionally embrace despite distinct warning signs telling them to hold up a sec? Because this issue is about as big and broad as a barn door.
Directed and co-written by Edgar Wright (in and of himself a slight problem due to the broad-stroke animality of Hot Fuzz) and based, of course, on Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s six-part comic book series, Scott Pilgrim is about the title character, a sensitive, bass-playing dweeb portrayed by Michael Cera, grappling with seven angry ex-boyfriends of a would-be girlfriend named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
As I understand it, the exes are all friggin’ furious that Ramona’s pleasures are no longer accessible and are fiercely resentful of any replacement, even though they themselves comprise an awful long conga line to start with.
Now, we all know about the occasional wacked-out ex-boyfirend who can’t let it go. I had a brief thing with an extremely dishy lady in the ’80s who was dealing at the time with an unstable ex. So unstable, in fact, that when I visited her one night he called up and then came over and rang the bell (she told me to ignore him) and then started pacing back and forth on the front lawn, calling out to her and talking to himself and generally creating a pathetic spectacle. So I know whereof I speak. Girls sometimes choose badly, some guys can’t handle rejection, and sometimes you have to put up your dukes.
It did occur to me as this psychodrama was unfolding, of course, that anyone with a looney-tunes ex might be a little screwy themselves, or perhaps be a little dishonest or manipulative or flaky. You are who you go out with. This episode wasn’t enough to put me off (she was beautiful and curvaceous and breathtaking in bed), but it did give pause. I know that if she’d had two ex-boyfriends knocking on the door I would have said “wow, this is really weird” and “something isn’t right.” And if she’d had three guys pleading for forgiveness and restitution I would have said “okay, she obviously likes guys fighting for her affections” and taken a hike.
O’Malley was obviously resorting to comic exaggeration by giving Ramona seven angry ex-boyfriends, but even if you scale that number back to three or four it still means that Scott Pilgrim hasn’t a lick of common sense. Even guys in the fifth or sixth grade know that a girl who always has a bunch of guys swarming around her is trouble. (I certainly knew this by the time I was eleven or twelve.) And therefore Scott is a fool. He doesn’t understand that any woman with seven fulminating exes is almost certainly suspect on some level — a narcissist, a power-tripper, a Scarlett O’Hara.
So after watching the Scott Pilgrim trailer you’re left with the question, “Do I want to hang with a guy this stupid for 110 minutes?” And the answer, of course, is fuck no. And I mean especially if he’s played by Cera. Give me a break with that guy already. I was sensing he might be over almost two years ago (i.e., in September ’08), and I think that view has since gotten some traction.