I think so.
It's not that Scott Pilgrim is better than Arrested Development or Superbad. Almost nothing is better than the former, and pound-for-pound I prefer the latter to Scott Pilgrim. But Edgar Wright's film may be the first time anyone's truly figured out how to harness Cera's trademark nerdy, ultra-tentative persona. God knows I think Cera is hilarious, but even in his best moments I've always thought of him as a comic doing a schtick. Here, for the first time, I saw an actor playing a character.
The key, I think, is that even though Cera is very much in his comfort zone here, his character is not himself the joke. Rather, Cera's schtick is woven into the film's intricate universe. Like Cera's other characters, Scott Pilgrim seems to exist in a perpetual state of embarrassment and uncertainty, but that's not what we're laughing at. The humor comes -- as it should -- from his interactions with the rest of the cast and with the insane universe that Wright & co. create for him. Supporting characters, especially Kieran Culkin's Wallace, regularly steal scenes, and that's as it should be. Wright didn't just exploit Cera's singular personality and sense of humor. He put him in a movie.
It's also Cera's most demanding role, requiring him to blend into the zany surroundings, engage in elaborate fisticuffs, and burst into an extended Seinfeld riff at the drop of a hat. He acquits himself beautifully. Like a lot of people, I worried what would happen once the world tired of Cera's stock character. Scott Pilgrim answers the question by rendering it moot: both the character and the actor are more versatile than we thought.
What do you think? Are there any other contenders for Michael Cera's best role?