Story

Scott Pilgrim is a shaggy-haired and nerdy 22-year-old. He’s between jobs and plays bass guitar for a Toronto neo-punk band called Sex Bob-Omb. Other band members include drummer Kim Pine (Alison Pill) and guitarist Steven Stills (Mark Webber). Scott’s best friend and roommate, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), is gay. And Scott is dating a 17-year-old high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong).

Scott’s life is disrupted when he meets a rollerblading, magenta-haired girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Scott starts dating Ramona. But things get dangerous when Scott receives an email from one of her ex-boyfriends, challenging Scott to a duel to the death. It turns out that Ramona has seven exes, known as ‘The League of the Seven Evil Exes’. They all have superpowers of some type. In order for Scott to have a relationship with Ramona, he must defeat them all in mortal combat.

Themes

Relationships; jealously and revenge; superheroes

Violence

Scott Pilgrim contains frequent violence in the style of comic books and video games, although there’s no blood and gore shown. Some of this violence could be imitated by children. For example:

  • Scott is attacked by Ramona’s evil ex number one. The fight includes numerous stylised kicks and punches to the face, head and chest. Scott hurls a drum cymbal at his attacker, nearly decapitating him. Scott punches his attacker in the head, causing his attacker to explode. Several floating, ghost-like young women fire flames from their eyes at Scott.
  • Scott watches a video of a man who is holding a gun to a woman’s head and threatening to shoot people.
  • While being attacked by Ramona’s second evil ex, Scott is thrown hundreds of metres through the air. He crashes into a building and falls through scaffolding to the ground, but he isn’t hurt. He is punched and kicked numerous times in the chest and face. He is also bashed over the head with a skateboard.
  • A man punches a teenage girl in the face and knocks her to the ground. The man says that he isn’t afraid to punch a girl because he’s a rock star.
  • Scott slaps a band member in the face several times.
  • One of Ramona’s evil exes is a young woman who attacks Scott with a bladed belt. Ramona attacks the woman with a large sledge hammer. The two women punch and kick each other. When Scott refuses to hit her ex, Ramona takes control of Scott’s hands, forcing him to hit the other woman. The woman knocks Scott to the ground and is about to stomp on his head when Scott touches her on the back of the knee. This causes her to explode in a shower of coins.
  • Giant ice-breathing dragons blow Scott and his fellow band members off their feet. Scott generates his own musical monster – a giant gorilla that attacks the dragons.
  • During his fight with Ramona’s last evil ex, Scott pulls a flaming sword from his chest and uses the sword to attack several men. Scott slices the men with the sword, and each man explodes in a shower of coins. Scott wraps his legs around the evil ex’s neck and flips him over his shoulder. Scott is speared through the chest with a sword. He collapses and dies. He goes to the after life, but is given back his life when he pushes a second chance button.
  • Knives turns up, wielding two swords. She attacks Ramona for stealing Scott. She kicks Ramona in the head. Scott intervenes and stops the two women fighting.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • Several women float in the air. They look like ghosts. Their mouths are full of large sharp fangs, and they have scary-looking eyes that shoot flames.
  • One of Ramona’s evil exes has white glowing eyes.
  • One scene contains images of ghost-like dragons that breathe ice on their victims. The dragons are battled by a giant ghost-like gorilla.

From 8-13

Children in this age group could also be disturbed by the violent and disturbing images described above.

Over 13

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by the images described above.

Sexual references

This movie contains some sexual references. For example:

  • Scott and another character are discussing Scott’s 17-year-old girlfriend. The other character asks, ‘Is she hot?’ and ‘Did you guys do it?’
  • Scott’s male roommate jokes to Scott, ‘Does that mean we have to sleep together? …You’re totally my bitch forever’.
  • Scott introduces his roommate to his teenage girlfriend, Knives. Scott says, ‘This is my gay roommate’. Later Knives asks Scott’s gay roommate if he would like to know who the gay boys are at her school.
  • While at a party, Scott is asked if he has the ‘hots’ for Ramona. A character says that Ramona is ‘hard core’ and has men dying at her feet.
  • Scott tells his roommate that he got to second base with Ramona the night before.
  • A character talks about Scott’s roommate ‘gaying up’ the phone.
  • Scott gets his words mixed up and says, ‘I want to pee on her (Knives)’. In another scene Scott mixes up his words again. He says that he’s ‘in lesbian’ with Ramona instead of ‘in love’ with her.
  • One of Ramona’s exes is a young woman. Ramona tells Scott that it was just a phase she was going through and that she was ‘bi-curious’ at the time.
  • While at a party, Scott asks Ramona if there is anyone there that she hasn’t slept with.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie contains some use of substances. For example:

  • In a couple of scenes, people drink alcohol at parties and in bars.
  • Scott’s roommate comes home drunk.
  • Scott tells Ramona that he feels like he’s on drugs when he is with Ramona.
  • Scott tells Ramona that he doesn’t do drugs. But he also says that if Ramona does, that’s fine with him and he would do it too.
  • Scott is in a bar holding two gin and tonics. He drinks one and becomes a little drunk. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • There is a back image of Ramona wearing a bra, shorts and stockings.
  • Ramona gets into bed with Scott wearing brief pants and a bra. They kiss passionately. Ramona then tells Scott that she has changed her mind and doesn’t want to have sex. But she says she might change her mind again at any moment.
  • Scott’s gay roommate makes eyes at Scott’s sister’s boyfriend. A short time later the two men kiss each other passionately.
  • Ramona and Scott kiss passionately.
  • In a couple of scenes, women wear low-cut tops that expose cleavage.
  • While Scott is fighting one of Ramona’s exes, a young woman, Ramona tells him that the woman will become sexually aroused if he touches her behind the knee. When Scott touches the young woman behind the knee, she falls to the ground.
  • Scott accidentally walks in on his roommate in bed with another man. His roommate makes a remark about Scott seeing the other man’s genitals.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: some clothing, cell phones, computers, Coke, Pac Man and other video games.

Associated merchandise likely to appeal to children, or interest them in seeing the movie, includes the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World graphic novels and video game (rated PG).

Coarse language

This movie contains coarse language and several put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Scott Pilgrim is a stylised action comedy romance based on a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Mally. The movie is aimed at an adolescent audience and contains action illustrations, split panel shots, graphic novel dialogue, 1970s-style arcade video game violence, and pop culture references.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Be responsible for your own mistakes in life, rather than blaming others.
  • Don’t allow past relationships to negatively affect new relationships.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • Self-respect and honesty: Scott owns up to his mistakes rather than blaming others. He takes responsibility for the consequences.
  • Support and love: Scott shows his support of, and love for, Ramona by standing up to people who want to manipulate and hurt her.

You could also talk about the importance of honesty in a healthy relationship, and the negative effects of dishonesty. By being dishonest with Scott, Ramona causes him a great deal of emotional and physical pain. Similarly, Scott causes Knives lots of heartache by being dishonest about his relationship with Ramona.