John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Veronica Mars

Genre: Drama

Director: Rob Thomas

Cast: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Krysten Ritter, Ryan Hansen, Francis Capra, Percy Daggs III, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino, Enrico Colantoni

MPAA-Rating: PG-13

Release Date: March 13th, 2014

There are a lot of in-jokes in the new mystery drama, click Veronica Mars.  Seven years after the three-season television show of the same name ended, this web many of the characters return in this feature-length film–which will likely be more remembered for the Kickstarter financing that brought it to life  than anything else. That being said, rx I watched the movie with a theater full of people who laughed, smiled and applauded throughout the proceedings knowing–more than I— all of the many in-jokes that are scattered throughout the proceedings.

As someone who has never seen an episode of the program, I can’t appreciate the in-jokes but I can appreciate the witty script and the strong characters that keep this story afloat for non-fans of the program.

For viewers like me, a brief introduction is shown at the beginning to bring everyone up to speed. Of course, it’s no substitute for watching the show but at least, this short montage shows audiences the background that exists between the title character (Kristen Bell)— a girl known for solving mysteries in her small town— and her on-again/off-again boyfriend Logan (Jason Dohring). The duo haven’t spoken for years when the film begins but when Logan is accused of murder, Veronica— who is off in New York in search of a job as a lawyer— returns home to find the culprit.

At one point her father and former Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) tells Veronica not to “let this town take you down like it does everyone else.” But, of course, Veronica— like many of the show’s fans— wants to stay in town, enjoying the life she experienced years earlier and solving the case. While in town, she inevitably reunites with her friends and falls back in love with her hometown, despite the fact that her bland boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell) is back in New York and waiting for her return home.

Despite the obviousness of much of the story (especially the plot surrounding the amiable Piz), the scriptwriters do a good job bringing back this beloved world.  It’s easy to tell that Rob Thomas— who created the show, co-wrote the screenplay and even directed this picture— loves these characters and wanted to do a solid job for the show’s fans. By the audience reaction of the theatergoers around me, he did.

And even though I didn’t understand everyone’s history with one another, I appreciated the chemistry that many of the characters shared and Bell herself. The actress is superb in the main role and fits into it like the character belongs to her. The celebrity cameos— from Dax Shepherd to James Franco— also were great fun, providing a few solid chuckles along the way.

It’s hard not to like the fesity main character and the quirky friends and colleagues she surrounds herself with. Even the mystery– which feels and plays like a television mystery would– is interesting enough to keep your attention. As a non-Marshmallow (a non-fan), I’m not the ideal audience for this feature but I liked it enough to want to visit the television show. While the show’s fans will likely love these characters coming back to life, non-fans will likely enjoy seeing these characters come to life for the first time in this delightful little mystery.

Review by: John Hanlon