So Scott Pilgrim came in fifth at the box office this weekend — barring word of mouth that verges on mind control, it's unlikely to go up next week. The film will probably break even in time, but what about the film failed to capture an audience right out the gate? Here are some theories....
1.) Michael Cera backlash: Most thought Cera made a fine Scott Pilgrim, but some folks are very vocally burnt out by his semi-twee brand of comedy. Somehow, this mild-mannered actor has become a lightning rod for intense vitriol. Here's a fake trailer that capitalizes on that attitude:
2.) Critical backlash: The movie has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 80%, but those critics who weren't too fond of film could have set the agenda more so than usual. Every film has its detractors, but as Linda Holmes at NPR observes, the reviews of Scott Pilgrim have been a soapbox for critics to razz on the film's demographic:
After referring to the first part of the movie as a "dork-pandering assault," The Boston Phoenix reviewer goes on to say that Michael Cera's performance is "irritating" in part because of "the non-stop Pavlovian laugh track provided by the audience at the screening I attended." (As far as I know, that's a first: "You made the audience laugh, you irritating actor in a comedy, and that's what's wrong with you.")
The review in the St. Petersburg Times begins, "First of all, I'm not a video gamer. I have discovered more appealing ways to not have a life."
The New York Observer sniffs that the film is "clearly directed at an audience with generational ADD."
3.) The film didn't have much to offer women: In the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, Ramona's character is much more fleshed out, as is Scott's propensity to be a Grade-A ass. The film does an admirable job of condensing the graphic novel series into a little less than two hours, but — in the process — Scott's character is a smidge de-jerkified and Ramona's given way less to do. The movie, while just as zippy as the graphic novels, contains more of Scott vying for a silent Ramona. Could it be possible that the film was more of a guys' night out than its creators realized?
In an intriguing essay over at Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum found herself unable to square the misogyny she found in the movie with her enjoyment of the film:
This is a misogynistic film. It's also a fun one. When it comes to Hollywood blockbusters, that's often the best one can hope for, and Scott Pilgrim might almost be described as a better sort of misogynistic film because if offers distractions from its misogyny rather than foregrounding it as so many others do. But especially given that, according to my friends who are its fans, Scott Pilgrim the comic is a story that tries to combat much of the misogyny that underlies Scott Pilgrim the film and other works of its ilk, it's a shame that this is the best Edgar Wright could come up with—a film that uses flashing lights and bright colors to distract its viewers from the unpleasantness at its core.I still have yet to see it, but what did you guys think?