'Scott Pilgrim' matures; Michael Cera doesn't

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This summer’s movie season has been filled with mediocrity, from “Iron Man 2” to “Sex and the City 2,” but “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” brings something new to the table. “Scott Pilgrim” jumps off the screen with a smart, engaging and creative take on the teenage love story.

Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-volume graphic novel of the same name, the film takes place in Toronto and focuses on Scott Pilgrim’s misadventures.

Played by Michael Cera (“Superbad”), Pilgrim is an immature 22-year-old dating a 17-year-old high school student named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). He is the bass player of a band called Sex Bob-Omb and meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, “Final Destination 3”). He soon begins his quest to win her heart, but before he can win Ramona over Pilgrim finds out that he must defeat her seven evil exes, each one more insane than the last. Pilgrim previously had his heart broken by ex-girlfriend Envy Adams (Brie Larson), which turned him into a jealous mess, but as he learns from each crazy altercation with Flowers’ exes, Pilgrim slowly matures.

Though Cera’s performance is multidimensional and realistic, it’s Pilgrim’s roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin) and sister Stacy Pilgrim (Anna Kendrick) who are the scene-stealers. Culkin is charismatic and adds a punch to each line he delivers, and Kendrick’s character is snarky and entertaining.

The film, directed by Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”), is aesthetically similar to both video-game play and comic-book illustrations. Wright mixes the perfect amount of catchy music, humor and unique storytelling reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s directing style. Cera works as the awkward teenager everyone can relate to, although it would be a refreshing change for the actor to move out of his comfort zone instead of playing the same character in each project he undertakes.

Grade: B+