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DVDs In Brief: November 10, 2010

It’s hard to understand why Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Universal), Edgar Wright’s colorful, beautifully managed adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular comic-book series, did so poorly at the box office. Millions of Internet pixels have been devoted to analyzing why its videogame references were too esoteric, its ad campaign too ubiquitous, its star Michael Cera too familiar and irritating, its central romance not compelling enough. And yet all that analysis misses the fact that it’s a perfectly crafted comedy that openly mocks Cera’s stock character and the shallowness of the infatuation that leads him to face seven evil exes in outsized battles. The pacing, editing, and comedy are superlative, but beyond that, Scott Pilgrim is smarter than the analyses give it credit for. Hopefully it’ll find its fan base on DVD…

Criterion Antichrist. Are there two sweeter words in the English language? Probably so, but it’s nice to see Lars von Trier’s typically polarizing take on the horror genre get a shot of legitimacy from the most respected DVD label around. (Complete with audio commentary, a documentary about the turbulent première at Cannes, and other goodies.) Though out of control at times—”chaos reigns,” after all—Antichrist strikes tricky balances between serious psychodrama and coal-black comedy, and between prankster provocation and a complex exploration of the power games and masochism that poison a marriage…

Calling a Happy Madison production lazy is inherently redundant: Adam Sandler’s production company has made a fortune exerting the least possible effort to satisfy the world’s least demanding audiences. But Grown Ups (Paramount) stands out as egregiously half-assed even by Sandler standards. It’s less a comedy than an opportunity for Sandler to go on vacation with his buddies (Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider) and have a major studio foot the bill…

Charlie St. Cloud (Universal) stars Zac Efron as a sailing prodigy who’s all set to enroll at Stanford when his little brother gets killed in a car accident. He spends the next five years working at a cemetery, playing ball with his brother’s ghost. Not hard to guess where this is headed, especially once a fetching woman enters the picture, but it’s somehow duller than it sounds. But if you like sunsets…

Beverly Cleary’s beloved Quimby sisters get the big-screen treatment in Ramona And Beezus (Warner Bros.). The film is sweet, though a little on the dull side for viewers over a certain age. Still, it’s the beneficiary of low standards: It’s easy to root for a kids’ movie that isn’t manic and fart-driven.