Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Movie Poster Image

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Clever, entertaining fantasy romance for gaming-era teens.
Popular with kids
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Utlimately the movie's message is that you have to harness the power within yourself to be powerful -- you have to know who you are to figure out what you want. Teamwork is also encouraged.

Positive role models

Although Scott's circle of friends is mostly loyal to him, no one in the movie is truly selfless. Scott himself cheats on Knives, who then hates Ramona and wants to get revenge. Ramona, in turn, doesn't adequately prepare Scott for the fact that he has to defeat her many exes for them to be together.


The six big face-offs are staged like video game battles, with lots of almost cartoonish martial arts and hand-to-hand fighting. There's no blood, but the defeated exes do blow up, disappear, disintigrate, etc.


Scott barely holds hands with Knives, the girl he's dating at the beginning of the movie, but he does hook up with Ramona in a scene that shows them both in bed and half-dressed (though they never have sex). Scott's roommate, Wallace, ends up in bed with not just one but two guys, one of whom started out being a girl's date (no sex is shown on screen). Wallace is also shown making out a couple of times. Scott and Wallace share a bed but have a platonic friendship. One of Ramona's evil exes is a "bi-curous" girl; Scott defeats her by touching her in an innocuous place that makes her have an instantaneous orgasm and explode. Scott's band is called Sex Bob-omb. References to "bases" (as in "making it to second base").


Fairly regular use of "ass," "bitch," "s--t," "hell," "oh my God," etc. -- plus one sequence in which "f--k" is used several times; they're mostly covered by bleeps, but you can read the character's lips. Also words like "c--k," "boob," and "bang" and insults like "loser," "creep" and "slut."


Fairly moderate for a teen-targeted film: a Sharpie T-shirt, Amazon, mentions of Pac Man and other video games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several scenes take place in nighclubs or concert venues where people have bottles in their hands, but there's no drunkenness. References to drugs but no obvious drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adaptation of a popular graphic novel series -- which stars teen favorite Michael Cera -- features some strong language, superhero- and video game-style violence, and teen sexuality, but it's ultimately age-appropriate for teens. The sexuality includes some passionate kisses and a couple of hooking-up scenes (both gay and straight); in one scene, a couple ends up in bed -- she in her bra, he shirtless -- but no sex is shown on screen. One character explodes after unexpectedly having an instantaneous orgasm. Language includes some uses of words like "s--t" and "ass," and there's one character who says "f--k" several times, though they're mostly bleeped. All of the violence is stylized and cartoonish rather than realistic and bloody. And for a geeky-hipster tale, there are remarkably few product placements.

What's the story?

This graphic novel adaptation takes place in not-quite-exotic Toronto, Canada, where Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a stereotypical 20-something slacker: He's the bass player in a band called Sex Bob-omb, a self-described geek who's dating 17-year-old high-schooler Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), and he crashes at his gay best friend Wallace's (Kieran Culkin) flat. Life consists mostly of band practice, hanging out, and playing video games with Knives ... until one day he spies irresistible, magenta-haired Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). After hooking up with Ramona, Scott realizes he must properly break it off with the adoring Knives -- and then discovers that he must defeat Ramona's "Seven Evil Exes" -- the nefarious league of all the people she's dumped since elementary school -- to truly be with his new love interest. A series of video game-style battles ensues -- can Scott prove that he has what it takes? And is Ramona worth the effort?

Is it any good?


At first, director Edgar Wright creates a meta-clever universe in which Scott's infatuation with Ramona and the first couple of evil-ex showdowns are hilarious and well-executed. Scott doesn't quite understand what's going on at first, but he knows he's into Ramona, and if this is what he has to do, he's sorta-kinda willing. But as the Mortal Kombat-style battles continue and escalate, viewers begins to wonder -- along with Scott -- why this girl whom he doesn't exactly have sizzling chemistry with is making him risk his life six times to have a happy ending. While he's head over heels for her, she calls him "the nicest guy" she's ever gone out with -- faint praise when her former significant others include arrogant and conceited types like a handsome action star (Chris Evans), a super-vegan bassist (Brandon Routh), and the evil exes' leader, Gideon, a jerky music producer played by Jason Schwartzman. There's one girl too -- the "bi-curious" and "bi-furious" Roxy Richter (a heavily made-up Mae Whitman, who long ago played Cera's girlfriend Ann on Arrested Development).

By the time Scott plows through all of the exes to reach Gideon, the novelty hasn't exactly worn off, but it no longer provides the jolt of excitement that energized the first half of the action. Cera, that ubiquitous Everyman who looks more boy than man, plays Scott as so spineless that it's hard to believe he can harness any of the power points necessary to defeat some of the exes. In fact, the most interesting character is Wallace. With his dark dye job making him look like a younger Tobey Maguire, Culkin is positively show-stopping, chewing up the scenery with his pithy advice and super-ability to phone Scott's put-together younger sister, Stacey (Anna Kendrick), whenever Scott's acting like an idiot (which is to say, most of the time). Culkin shines so brightly that it's too bad graphic novelist Bryan Lee O'Malley didn't write a Wallace-centric spin-off that could be adapted into a sequel. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does it compare to what you've seen in other action movies? Does it have more or less impact?

  • The movie seems aimed at those immersed in video game culture -- i.e., teens. Do you think it's as funny or relevant for parents/adults?

  • What does Scott learn about himself by fighting off all of the exes?

  • Why are graphic novel adaptations so popular? For those familiar with both, how does the movie compare to the graphic novels?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 13, 2010
DVD/Streaming release date:November 9, 2010
Cast:Chris Evans, Kieran Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Cera
Director:Edgar Wright
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byLama-Rama January 19, 2011

COMPLETELY harmless!

Personally, I disagree with almost everyone here. I think you're taking it way too seriously - there is mild course language, but you get this in anything, and if you think that a kid hasn't heard or used that kind of language many times before, then think again. Personally, being the complete opposite of a homophobe, I don't see any problem with the occasional gay couple scenes that there are - if you saw a completely clothed male and female kissing, how is that any different to a same sex kiss? However, that's just my opinion and I apologize if you take offence. The scene with Ramona and Scott in bed doesn't SHOW anything, although it does lead you to believe that they have had/are going to have sex - but that's just suggestive and only a very mature young child would be able to understand that. The violence is toned down, basically the equivalent of letting your kids played games with mild violence. No blood whatsoever, just characters that turn into piles of coins like in games. I saw it just recently, and I didn't find it at all bad, which is why I was quite surprised to see that the average person rated its age so high, and that someone said that it was inappropriate for under 16s! I think this movie is fine for a mature eight year old, but most likely grade five students (10 year olds) and above.
Parent of a 5 year old Written bymamagrow August 22, 2010

What a disappointment!

The previews had my 13 year-old and I excited to see it, but we walked out after maybe 20 minutes ...after my daughter offered for us to go see something else, something better. We were very disappointed. It could've been such a great story if they'd just left out half of the junk. Bummer.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byDarkArcher April 25, 2011

Great, funny movie is not for Young Kids

A great movie for teens, I thought it was really funny. The movie has a lot of action and some violence. All the fights have martial arts violence and when some one gets hit words like: "Pow" "Bam" and "Kaboom" come out of characters. All the fights resolve in the loser falling to their knees and being consumed in a blast of light. After that, all that is left are coins (just like a video game), One scene about 15 minutes away from the end of the movie shows a sword going clean through Scott's chest. He falls to the floor dead. But then comes back alive in about 2 minutes after a dream. The Sexual Content can be iffy for 12 year olds and younger, one scene shows a couple half - naked in a bed kissing and then sleeping together (they didn't have sex on - screen or off). But after that there is only jokes about sex. There's a lot of language from h--l, d--m, son of a b---h, and c--k, and one character that uses f--k multiple times, but her lips and voice are censored when she does use that word. The message is good and Scott is a good role model most of the time. At times he cheats on his ex girlfriends, but at other times his actions show that if you want something really bad, you have to fight for it. Overall, if I had to give this movie a genre it would be comedy or Action/Adventure. The content may be iffy for tweens 12 and under but it really depends on your kid.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages