Release Date: 14-Mar-2014 (USA)
Length: 107 minutes
With: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Krysten Ritter
Many who hail from a seedy, armpit of a hometown have high hopes of moving on to greener pastures. Others acknowledge the bad but see more of the good and plant their flag in the ground and never leave. The coastal community of Neptune in the Veronica Marsuniverse certainly can be described as a place to want to move on from – unless you happen to be one of the “09ers,” the wealthy citizens from the 90909 zip code.
That is one of the central issues that the title character (Kristen Bell) has to deal with. Should she return home or continue on with her new life 3,000 miles away in New York?
The montage during the opening credits of the Veronica Mars movie catches us all up on what is going on in Veronica’s life. For those of us who had never really watched the show it was a good, quick synopsis of what we needed to know to better understand the movie.
Veronica left Neptune, went to college, is in a stable relationship with a guy named “Piz,” and is in the process of interviewing for a job at a legal firm headed by Gayle Buckley (Jamie Lee Curtis). A perfect storm of coincidence – the suspicious death of a classmate with her former boyfriend Logan (Jason Dohring) as a suspect as well as her 10-year high school reunion – gets Veronica to return home and get involved in a case for the first time in a decade.
The movie starts off pretty slow and gets muddled with trying to make the loyal Veronica Mars fan-base happy while still trying to include the newbie audience members into the mix. This film was supposed to be a project of passion but no one in the first half of the film looked like they wanted to be there. When the plot picks up and starts to get interesting it takes a pause so that the love triangle between Veronica, Logan and Piz can get resolved (something that many longtime fans had been hoping to see).
The story itself is interesting and plays out like a good old fashion hard nosed detective novel. The voiceover work that the genre is known for, however, comes off forced and unneeded. At one point Veronica sees Logan standing next to his sports car and her inner monologue says something like “You ever hear the one about the junkie who was satisfied with just one more taste of the good stuff?”
Again, maybe the original fans of the show grew to love that stuff and geeked out about it but the casual viewer will probably find it annoying. The same goes with a lot of the “inside jokes.” It’s great to be a part of something like this and the movie was made for the original fans but it just isn’t welcoming to us non-“Marshmallows.”
The film was crafted well and the cinematography is especially good at capturing the dark shadows that befits the underbelly of a dodgy town that is typical in detective tales. And the actors do get into a groove and have some fun as the movie gets passed its awkward “getting to know you” phase. Cameos by Dax Shepard, Justin Long and James Franco were a treat. The plot wraps up nicely and some of the more interesting plot points wrap up a little too neatly, but overall if you like detective shows like Psych or Monkthan this is probably worth your time. Just don’t expect to be too attached to anyone unless you have the luxury of three seasons worth of character development that fans of the show have.
This movie isn’t worth a re-watch unless it tops off a binge-watch of the series. It will be interesting to see how this plays out being released in theaters and on Video on Demand on the same day. Hopefully it leads the way for more new releases to follow suit.