Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni
Genre: Comedy/ Drama
Years after leaving her California home town of Neptune and being a teenage private eye, Veronica Mars (Bell) is now facing an interview to be a top lawyer in New York. However, after one of her old school friends is murdered and old flame Logan (Dohring) is seemingly the obvious suspect, Mars is persuaded to return to Neptune for a weekend to find Logan a good lawyer. However this weekend coincides with the high school reunion and a series of revelations of many people she thought she knew means that Veronica is compelled to stay that bit longer in Neptune and essentially, be back on the case.
Apparently as a TV series, Veronica Mars attracted very few viewers, but yet all these years later we have a film version, which I am sure many of the original actors whose careers have not exactly taken off, are thankful for. Well, I have never seen a single second of the TV series, though of course I know the premise, but can confirm that even the most uninitiated like myself cane certainly find plenty to enjoy from this film without feeling like they are completely gate crashing the reunion party.
A quick voice-over from Veronica over the opening title sequence tells laymans like myself exactly all we need to know and will not bore those who know everything, allowing the plot to take-over. Plot-wise, the film is a very generic and a basic detective story with very little huge shocks or surprises for anyone. Also with a TV series characters get the chance to develop, but with 100 minutes or so to fit everything in, inevitably some characters (and there are quite a few) just turn up briefly enough to say hi to the fans, but that’s it. Some characters who actually play quite a big part in the revelations of the plot feel very disposable and underused, but then there is a limit of time.
However, despite adopting the inevitable generic narrative conventions of moving from small screen to big screen, thanks to sharp dialogue and an energetic performance from Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars serves as a very enjoyable and funny, if slightly forgettable film. Our protagonist naturally gets all the best lines, but provides us with a protagonist that is likeable and the motivations behind her actions feel justified. Also, this is a film that is happy to have its tongue very much in its cheek, and there is never an amusing one-liner far away. Though her detective work is never edge-of-your-seat stuff, it is good fun to watch, and so making Veronica Mars a thoroughly enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Of course there are plenty of moments that are there to provide each character from the series at least one moment, and though it is obvious these and some of the latter narrative developments are there for the fans of the series, this is understandable but creator Rob Thomas makes sure that these moments fit smoothly within the narrative as possible. Thankfully this is aided by the witty script making sure these moments are never alienating for the uninitiated and are good fun to watch with witty (and bitchy) banter flying between characters.
Veronica Mars (I assume) serves as a satisfying close to fans of the series but also as a fun, if slightly generic detective drama for the rest of us. It has its flaws and ‘twists’ are not as shocking as they could have maybe been, but with a witty script and Bell’s charismatic protagonist it is always good enjoyable fun.