Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Clever, entertaining fantasy romance for gaming-era teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 120 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMattman211989 June 9, 2013

Acceptable for Most Older or Mature Children

Scott Pilgrim is generally acceptable for older or mature children, however there are issues which may need to be addressed by parents when viewed by a younger... Continue reading
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byMr. K November 11, 2010
AWFUL!!! One of the worst and incredibly stereotypical teen movies. This of course can only be expected from Michael Cera who has made awful movie after awful... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bycurlking1200 September 18, 2019

This movie it being portrayed as an adult movie filled with drugs, sex, and intense violence which isn't the case.

I believe that "Scott Pilgrim vs The World" is a great movie and is(by adults of course) being made look bad. This movie has a few minor scenes with d... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byKanye West Backflip June 17, 2020


This movie blows me away the more I think about it. Every single detail is so immaculate and I always find myself noticing something new every time I watch this... Continue reading

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. 

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love teen romance

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate