Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA/United Kingdom/Canada/Japan, 2010. Universal Pictures, Marc Platt Productions, Big Talk Productions, Closed On Mondays Entertainment, Dentsu. Screenplay by Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright, based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Cinematography by Bill Pope. Produced by Eric Gitter, Nira Park, Marc Platt, Edgar Wright. Music by Nigel Godrich. Production Design by Marcus Rowland. Costume Design by Laura Jean Shannon. Film Editing by Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss.
Bursting with verve and excitement, each scene from this adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels is a thorough delight. When the characters are not being whirled around the screen by the impressive editing and visual effects, the film offers a surprise treasure at its core: a screenplay blessed with highly charismatic characters and painfully witty dialogue. Michael Cera is at the centre of all the youthful sexual complications, as the 22 year-old member of a nothing Toronto band who is still heartbroken over his breakup with his now famous ex-girlfriend and is dating an adorable teenager. When he meets the gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Winstead, he falls head over heels, beginning to date her without breaking up with his young flame and finding out before long that his new obsession comes with some baggage: seven superpowered evil exes, to be exact, with whom Cera must battle, video-game style, in order to win the lady’s affection. It’s an instant cult classic whose laughs never stop pumping and whose only drawback is a third act that doesn’t deliver the promise of its opening, and a leading lady whose characters does the same. Cera’s obsession with Winstead’s Ramona Flowers is completely understandable considering how enigmatic and sexy her entrance is, but she quickly becomes passive and cliched, taking a blissfully funny story that has included a winsomely funny gay roommate, a quirkily adorable Asian girl, some calmly integrated lesbian subplotting and the complaints of a frustrated, underappreciated woman (Alison Pill as the band’s drummer) and whittling it all down to the same result as pretty much every other movie being made, the adolescent fantasy of a straight, white male. Still, it is so charming when its vicious stylistics could so easily have been overwrought, and director Edgar Wright manages to find the most beautiful, picturesque corners of Toronto that Canadian filmmakers have been avoiding for decades.