Movie Review: Veronica Mars

veronica-mars-poster-636-longVeronica Mars (2014)

Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Krysten Ritter, Chris Lowell

Directed By: Rob Thomas

Veronica Mars is back! Seven years after the canceled too soon series left the airwaves, Neptune High’s teen detective returns, with a little help from a website called Kickstarter and the cold hard cash of her fans. Veronica Mars is a blast for fans of the series, and it’s a real thrill to see Veronica, her father Keith, and bad boy Logan come to life again. However, those checking out the film with no prior knowledge of the series may be wondering what the fuss is all about.

That’s not to say that Veronica Mars doesn’t try to appeal to the newcomers. In fact, it starts off with a quick series recap that also serves as a nice refresher for those of us that didn’t binge watch the whole series before hitting up the theater.  After this recap, the plot gets going pretty quickly, with Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) living in New York City with her boyfriend Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell), and interviewing for high-profile lawyer gigs. However, once ex-boyfriend Logan Echols (Jason Dohring), who’s believed to have murdered his pop star girlfriend, calls Veronica and begs for help, she’s quickly on a plane back to her hometown of Neptune, California.  At the same time, the Neptune High School 10 year reunion is taking place, which guarantees that Veronica will run into all of our favorite characters from  the TV show.

Don’t worry, that’s as much of the plot as I’ll get into right now.  However, I will say that as a fan of the show I had an absolute blast with this film. I was one of the millions of backers who contributed to get this thing made, so I may be a little biased, but getting the chance to see a character like Veronica Mars come to life again was an absolute thrill. Of course, Kristen Bell, who was born to play the character, is great in the lead role. It feels like no time has passed when we see her again. The same goes for much of the rest of the cast, especially Enrico Colantoni’s Keith Mars, who is hands down my favorite character in the series. Both he and Bell has such great chemistry together that I could watch them go back and forth all day, and many of Colantoni’s lines had me laughing out loud. And of course, who can resist Jason Dohring’s Logan? He may have taken up a profession in between the series and the movie that I don’t think fits the character, but aside from that, like Bell’s Mars, he walks right back into his role without skipping a beat.

There’s also a great sense of catching up with all of these characters, and pretty much all of the ones you remember from the show make an appearance, and all look pretty ecstatic to be a part of this project. When Mac (Tina Majorino) and  Wallace (Percy Daggs III) arrive at Veronica’s house to greet her, you actually get a feeling that you’re seeing old friends as well.  Add in a scene stealing Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen, who really needs to be in more stuff), and you’ve got everything included that a Veronica Mars fan could ask for. There’s really only character that I felt got the short end of the stick, and that was Weevil (Francis Capra). I loved seeing how his life has turned out, but it seemed like his part of the story was over pretty quickly. Then again, with all of the answers and characters packed into this movie, someone was going to get glossed over.

Series creator Rob Thomas (no, not the lead singer of Matchbox 20) directs the feature, which feels like a 107 minute episode. That may seem like a knock against the film, but it’s not. In fact, that’s really the only way it could’ve turned out. It’s almost like getting two episodes in one, with the plot  basically revolving around a classic Mars “whodunnit”: there are red herrings, possible suspects, black mail, murder, and even some shady cops.  There’s also a ton of hilarious celebrity cameos that pop up in the film, the main one being a huge, hilarious surprise.

Or course, there’s room left for another chapter if things go well enough financially for the little film that could, but as it stands,  Veronica Mars works extremely well as a capper to the series, and is a huge “thank you” to fans of the teen gumshoe. It’s the send off that the marshmallows deserved, and a really testament to the power that fans can be heard and make something that was once an impossibility a reality.

Verdict: B+

Posted on March 16, 2014, in Movie Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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