With over 1200 pages of material to compress, Wright and co-screenwriter Michael Bacall have shortchanged some of the most popular and haunting figures in the books: neither Kim Pine (Alison Pill), the Moe Tucker-size drummer of Sex Bob-omb, nor Young Neil (Johnny Simmons), get much of a look in; Pilgrim’s gay roommate Wallace Wells (Kieron Culkin) is so scene-stealingly delightful he should have appeared more often.
In terms of character, if you can cut your way through the stylised ennui, the 'totallys’ and 'awesomes’ of teen-speak, and the breathless buzz of texted and telephoned commentary on who is going out with whom, there’s not much left.
Silly and superficial can be very funny, as Ben Stiller’s Zoolander demonstrated, but then Zoolander had an internal discipline that Edgar Wright’s film lacks.
The battles are all styled like computer games, and thereby a funny idea is rendered repetitive and tedious.
Too often, these nifty conceits of genre simply direct us into a kind of meaningless visual noise.
His natural heir in films today is Michael Cera, a wan-faced, droll Canadian youth with a quavery voice and difficult hair, who generally plays – with slight variations – a character instantly recognisable as Michael Cera.