It’s still hip to be square, especially on the big screen…

Sixteen years after Robert Carradine faced up to the frat boys in Revenge of the Nerds it seems the film’s title has finally come to fruition. Ladies love Daniel Radcliffe, the world worships JJ Abrams and everybody wants a job from Steve Jobs, so, bar bad music taste, questionable narrative skill and ludicrous clothing, the geeks are getting away with it. Look no further than Comic Con 2010 where the clamour for fan boy affirmation hit a frenzied high, Angelina Jolie’s appearance confirming that geek is indeed cash, sorry…chic.

The trend doesn’t look like subsiding as two films that make Broderick’s War Games look like Laugier’s Martyrs come crashing our way. First up Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a comic book adaptation of hyper-real proportions, imaginatively directed by Edgar Wright and expertly played by Michael Cera in what’s surely a tailor made role for his flannel-faced brilliance. It’s a simple premise, Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes to win her heart and the film has every ingredient to kick Kick Ass’s ass. From an 8-bit style Universal logo, to Kieran Culkin (and Jason Schwartzman), to a jaw dropping Seinfeld homage, it’s swimming in sumptuous detail. The soundtrack alone is enough to wet the spider-man sheets with Nigel Godrich supplying the score, Broken Social Scene chipping in and a politely penned letter from Edgar Wright to Nintendo resulting in the Zelda theme as a gift. Even the tag line oozes promise, ‘an epic of epic epicness’.

The brains behind this…Big Talk Productions. The Simon Pegg and Nick Frost led company also responsible for Paul, another movie destined for nerd cloud nine. Still in production, Paul is a Pegg and Frost-starring comedy about two sci-fi nuts embarking on a pilgrimage to Area 51. It’s on this journey they encounter a fugitive alien inevitably called Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Early production buzz suggests this is the vehicle that will finally see the duo’s inner geek unleashed to full stretch, delivering on the promise of Spaced and their subsequent smashes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

This time around though, they’re without Edgar Wright. Stepping into his customised Converse is Gregg Mottola, the man behind Superbad and the saccharine but underrated Adventureland. Like Scott Pilgrim, Mottola has an embarrassment of riches on set, Jason Bateman pops up (Arrested Development again, Jeffrey Tambour makes an appearance too) and Sigourney Weaver also shows her face. Ellen Ripley jokes aplenty then.

By Ian Roebuck


Originally published in issue 20 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. August 2010