Cast: Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni)
Director: Rob Thomas
Theatrical release: 03/14/2014
DVD Date: 05/06/2014
Rating: PG-13 for sexuality including references, drug content, violence and some strong language.
Running Time: 107 minutes
Note(s): An original screenplay by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero, and based on a character from the television series Veronica Mars.
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Review: I had never seen the original television series Veronica Mars, in which Kristen Bell (who plays the titular character) starred as a high school student investigating crimes in her upscale community of Neptune, California. But I did follow the fan-fueled (and to some extent financed) campaign to resurrect the character for a feature-length film.
The film opens nearly a decade after the events of the third and final season of the series. Veronica has a law degree and is interviewing for a position at a New York City-based law firm. She gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), who is being accused of killing his current girlfriend Carrie Bishop, a popular singer. He needs her help in selecting an attorney to represent him, and she puts her own career plans on hold to fly out to California to help him. Needless to say, she soon uncovers evidence that points to the motive behind Carrie's death and sets out to trap the killer.
It took me weeks to finish watching Veronica Mars. Not that it's a necessarily bad film, only that it is one that is readily paused and resumed days later. Filmed in very short scene sequences (that also give it a choppy feel), it's not unlike a book with short chapters, easy to set down and pick up again when convenient. There seems to be an assumption that viewers will be familiar with the cast from the series, so there is little in the way of introduction to them here. (Other than Kristen Bell, I'm not sure who reprised their roles in the film, if any.) But with a relatively small cast, it isn't hard to make the appropriate connections. The storyline is straight-forward enough but I found as I watched it that I really didn't care whodunit. Indeed, that almost seems to be the intent of the writers, who place far more blame on the Neptune police department for assuming that Logan was guilty and letting it go at that. I would think a first year law student could have persuaded a jury that he was at the very least not guilty based solely on how inept the police investigation was.
There's nothing really wrong with the film, but there's nothing all that compelling about it either. Fans of the series no doubt appreciate seeing Veronica Mars back in action, but those (like myself) who are unfamiliar with the character will see it as a decent popcorn film and not much more.
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