Running Time: 107 mins.
Premise: On the verge of accepting a prestigious job at a law firm, and just when she thought she was out of the private investigator business, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) finds herself drawn back to her hometown of Neptune, CA to help clear the name of her former flame, Logan (Jason Dohring), who is a suspect for the murder of one of their former high school classmates.
Behind-the-Scenes: Perhaps you've heard of the uber-successful Kickstarter campaign to resurrect the beloved and prematurely cancelled TV show of the same name? No? Then, what rock have you been hiding under? Writer-director Rob Thomas raised over $5 million on Kickstarter to bankroll the film a year ago (full disclosure - some of that was from me), and the finished film is now simultaneously showing in theaters nationwide and On Demand - a rarity these days.
The Good: Thomas has made a fan-friendly, highly entertaining, and satisfying feature adaptation. Retaining most of the wit and charm of the series, Veronica Mars is consistently funny and clever. Bell's star power has increased over the years, and she slips back into the Mars character comfortably and as if no time had passed. Supporting players from the show pop up throughout the film, and it's a true joy to see actors like Ryan Hansen (as Logan's roommate and perpetual smart/dumb-ass, Dick) and Max Greenfield (here, Leo D'amato, but always and forever from now on - Schmidt) play opposite Bell. There are a handful of fun cameos, and the core mystery is engaging enough, even though the audience knows that Logan didn't do it from the start.
The Bad: It plays more like an extended episode of the show than an actual MOVIE. Granted, the budget wasn't terribly large, but still - there is nothing about this that screams theatrical release. The pacing can drag at times, and Thomas needed to punch up the editing. Fans surely appreciate taking the time to hang with characters they used to love, but newbies may grow impatient. Logan used to be such an interesting character on the show, but now he's just a blank slate who's really only good for a Few Good Men gag.
Should You See It?: Yes. Fans will like it more than most, but I wouldn't be surprised if Veronica Mars the movie inspires others to jump on board the bandwagon.
Star Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars.
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