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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

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Based on the comic-book series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World follows twentysomething Pilgrim (Michael Cera at his most nebbishy) as he tries to balance playing bass in rising band Sex Bob-omb, dating a 17-year-old schoolgirl (Ellen Wong), and pursuit of new-girl-in-town Ramona Flowers. But Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, in a Winona Ryderish turn) is trying to leave behind her past. To date her, Pilgrim must battle her baggage -- and some of his own -- against an earnest backdrop of Toronto video arcades, clubs, record stores and thrift shops. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has created an alterna-rom-com for a frenzied, intertextual, pop-culture world: a pastiche of graphic-novel panels brought to life, video-game fight sequences, action-film send-ups and Seinfeld homage. Oh, with original music by Beck and score by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. While the film really pops on the big screen and includes some lovely compositions, keeping track of Wright's competing visual languages can be a chore. "Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it," says Sex Bob-omb's drummer, and sometimes, you may want to punch this movie. But the broader story -- and plentiful laughs -- should bring a smile to your face. Starts Fri., Aug. 13. (Aaron Jentzen)

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