I don't know why I keep doing it. I will see a movie I like and then go to Aintitcool.com to see what those critics thought. And then I am surprised when they don't see it my way. When they use extremely crass and vulgar language to describe their distaste in the film. When they would rather not explain their view from an educated standpoint, but rather use the barrage of four letter words to express their opinion. Their reviews read as if the movie punched them in the face, took their wallet, and insulted their mother before the end credits rolled. More than anything I guess I've officially grown up and away from aintitcool and now need a new film review site to peruse, because I am tired of reading reviews from critics who loved "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and hated "The Switch"...
I saw both of these movies this past weekend and have two totally different thoughts about the films. In my opinion "Scott Pilgrim" is the way lesser of the two films which I assume would make most 22 year old guys scream in agony, but to me is true. With "Scott Pilgrim" we get an overally stylistic film about a mopey guy(Michael Cera) who somehow has to fend off girls from all directions. There's the 17 year old Chinese girl who adores him, there's the red/blue haired Ramona who can't resist his stuttering charm, and then of course there is the famous voluptuous ex-girlfriend who is jealous of both of them. All of this completely unrealistic portrayal of how men and women relate annoyed me. Maybe it is because I am happily married to a woman who rolls her eyes at this stuff. Maybe it is because 10 years ago I tried to grow up from the high school teen angst feeling that every guy has. Maybe it is because "Scott Pilgrim" is simple not for me... Yep that last one feels the most right.
You see, I like substance. In fact, I like it over style every time. If I wanted to watch a 90 minute video game I could've hung out with my nephews and watched them play HALO or BAKUGAN for an hour and a half. With video games you don't expect much in terms of story and are pleasantly surprised when you find one. Movies should be the other way around. With movies you should expect a solid, well structured story and then be surprised when something visually nifty pops up, right?
I also like movies that don't have to rely on gimmicks to get through. "Scott Pilgrim" is all gimmick. Flashy, video game fights. Trendy, hipster conversations. The general decay of true masculinity. You'd think a movie like "The Switch" would be too, being that it is about a sperm donor, but no. "The Switch" addresses the concept, but doesn't lean on it. In the "Scott Pilgrim" version of "The Switch" there would have been a 15 minute scene in which the sperm baster would be passed around a room, mimicked as a bong, possibly dropped into the punch bowl much to the nervous laughter of the audience. It would've been gross, disturbing, and perfectly representative of the demographic "Scott Pilgrim" is apparently intended.
I'm getting old. I understand that. Movies that probably wouldn't have annoyed me 10 years ago do. "The Switch" is fun, endearing, predictable and that's what makes it good. I'm not saying I need my movies safe and wholesome. I'm saying I need my movies to have a brain. To have male characters who stand up for something other than just what their penis says to and give a crap about their lives and the lives of the people they love. I like watching movies where men and women are equals. Where women can stand up for themselves. Where women don't just have to talk about men. Where women aren't treated as objects. "Scott Pilgrim" treats women as objects. "The Switch" treats women with respect.
Maybe my main concern with all of this that young people who see "Scott Pilgrim" don't blindly accept the portrayals of men and women in it to be real depictions of how we should all treat each other. I would hate to see young men watch a movie where girls are only there to serve them and think that is what women should do in life.
Now for a quick run down of the things I liked from the movie I actually liked watching.
The kid is great. He does a great job with material he is given. He is an actual character that plays the 3rd wheel well and within his means. He gets several genuine laughs and has great chemistry with Bateman and Aniston.
Every performance is understated in a good way. Our actors look comfortable in their characters' skins and let each scene breathe.
This is a truly ensemble cast with everyone getting some quality screen time.
Again there is nothing gross about this movie and believe me there most certainly could've been. It's a movie about a sperm donor, a sperm donor cup, and sperm cup sabotage and we don't have a real gross out scene.
The movie moves quickly. We get what we need from scenes and don't linger.
The screenplay is extremely tight without any extraneous scenes. I wager several drafts were written and rewritten to work out the details, the loose ends, and maybe those scenes that would've made everyone cringe.
They didn't focus on Bateman's neurosis. I feel like if this were directed by Woody Allen we would've had too many scenes in which Bateman was annoying, depressed, and being infuriatingly destructive in his relationships. Bateman does get in his own way, he just does it more realistically than I expected. It was a refreshing look at this sort of scenario and I ultimately think it is one of the best romantic comedies I've seen in theatres in a long while.
Finally, "The Switch" feels closer to home, because that is just where I am as a person. I'm closer to 30 then 20. I'd rather where a button up dress shirt than a "Donkey Kong" tee shirt. I don't suffer from teen angst, but rather career angst. I guess I'm just identifying with the 30 somethings now.
So go see "Scott Pilgrim" if you want a pretty picture, oversexed romp with a paper thin plot and go see "The Switch" if want to see a good movie.