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“Slip in your quarters to Play Scott Pilgrim”

To understand “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World,” you have to not see it as a linear narrative film but as what occurs when a dweeby virgin hallucinates on Nyquil. It’s on such another plane of existence that it makes “Inception” seem like cinema verite. “Scott Pilgrim” is life as a video game but the audience isn't sitting like drones watching, they're interactively living this wacky imaginative insanity, this frothy and high geared epic. “Scott Pilgrim” is the shot of adrenaline this dull summer so desperately needed.

The skeleton of a plot could not do the film justice, but here goes. 22-yr-old Scott (Michael Cera) plays in a band, lives with a gay best friend and loves Ramona. But like Homer’s “Odysseus,” he must fight Ramona’s seven deadly ex-lovers to win her hand.

Egdar Wright, who co-wrote with Michael Bacall, has a grip on 20-something angst and strips it of the monotony most 20-year-olds feel when they have no job, no lovers, no prospects; leaving us with only the daydreams. Scott’s life is what nerds like him fantasize about when they toss and turn at night. He has ninja powers, girls who adore him, friends who look out for him and a killer garage band and yet he's a total geek. Scott Pilgrim is Walter Mitty without bookends that reveal it all to be a dream. Wright visualizes both Bryan Lee O'Malley’s graphic novel style from which the story helms and the video games from which it were inspired. Graphics of Scott’s game score (in the game of life) flash in the corner every time he defeats an opponent, chyrons key us into important people and locations, and sounds are visualized, just as they were in the 60s “Batman” series.

Wright, a rare genius in an industry of hacks, has already demonstrated a heightened creativity with “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”  Here, he blasts us with extreme images, purposely-jarring jump cuts and ultra-loud music.  He snaps us out of our slumber after a year of “Twilight” sequels and empty effects movies like “Alice In Wonderland” and “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

To make this film work, Wright needs a hip cast, with precision timing and remarkable sense of irony.  He couldn’t be served better by anyone other than Kieran Culkin as Scott’s bedmate who brings over boyfriends while hetero Scott obliviously shares the right side, Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick as Scott’s cloying sister, Alison Pill as ex-GF with a scowl and Ellen Wong as the deliriously precious 17-year-old pixie who loves Scott even after he dumps her.  As the object of his affection, the always talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who even raised “Final Destination 3” to a higher level), presents a blasé exterior to hide a vast vulnerability.

However, like the underrated “Youth In Revolt,” the film rests on the shoulders of every-boy Michael Cera. His geeky stare, doe-eyes and gawky frame represent the boy everyone knows in school but rarely acknowledges. He’s a perfect Scott Pilgrim because in real life Scott Pilgrim would never get to live the amazing life we find him.  Cera, clueless but sensitive, manages to hurt without intending and heal without expecting.  As Scott Pilgrim, Cera fell down the rabbit hole before the film begins, drank what the door mouse handed him, and began an extraordinary journey.  We are his lucky passengers.  Grade: A.

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