The Duff treads a recognisable path but peppers regular doses of charm and humour along the way. Bianca (Mae Whitman) leads a fairly content high school life, until she discovers she’s the ‘duff’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her two best friends. In need of a reinvention, she enlists the help of pretty boy Wesley (Robbie Amell). Continue reading “Review: The Duff (2015)”
Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a story of a 22-year-old bassist, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), who plays in a band called Sex Bob-Omb and dates a high school girl (Ellen Wong). Everything changes when he happens upon Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who infects his brain, which eventually becomes an obsession of his.
Not is all well, though, as Ramona comes with some heavy baggage. The baggage just so happens to be in the form of seven evil exes, all of which have super powers. Scott must defeat each evil ex in order to take his love affair with Ramona to the next level. The evil exes themselves (portrayed by Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Swartzman, Mae Whitman, Keita and Shoto Saito and Satya Bhabha), despite their brief on-screen presence, are a welcome addition to the film, while never detracting from the films overall purpose.
The partnership between Cera’s Scott and Winstead’s Ramona is pitch-perfect. Combing her effortless, beyond cliché nature, with his haphazard, anxious being may sound like a recipe for disaster, but the pair make it work, en-capturing audiences attention, making us care about their relationship.
Another reason Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World works so well is due to the supporting cast. Not only do Cera and Elizabeth provide a likeable, and explorable love affair, but co-stars such as Kieran Culkin, Alison Pill, Aubrey Plaza and Johnny Simmons all shine in their respective parts, delivering laugh-out-loud one-liners and welcome sub-plots to the main story-arc. Ellen Wong and Anna Kendrick in particular administer stand-out performances, showcasing their incredibly diverse talent.
Wright’s direction is superb, managing to make the film visually spectacular and inventive, whilst maintaining an old-fashioned, youthful nature. Fusing live-action with video-game and comic-book intellect was always going to be a risk, but Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World pulls it off perfectly.
The films screenplay, an adaptation of Bryan O’Malley’s comic-book series, has so many levels, that there’s sure to be something on offer for everyone. On the surface, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is all about the zany action sequences, awkward teenage humour and video-game references. Underneath, however, there’s a whole new level of meaning, one that explores the true meaning of love and how relationships are never easy, but full of obstacles couples must overcome to reach their destiny.
While the awkward subject matter and unfortunately poorly-executed marketing campaign ended up hurting the box office gross, the film will undoubtedly find a home on DVD amongst young, or the young-at heart who like zany indie films that explore deep, poignant ideas, inter-cut by lots of crazy, heart-pounding, fighting scenes and witty dialogue.
Seek it out. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a film that deserves an appreciative audience.