Directed By: Rob Thomas
Written by: Rob Thomas
Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni
This review addresses whether the film works as its own autonomous unit- as all films should. If you want my fan review, there is a paragraph at the end.
Veronica Mars is coming back to her home town of Neptune, California. Although, she had given up the life of a private investigator and was weeks away from becoming a lawyer, although she has a doting boyfriend, and for all intents and purposes, a great life in New York City. Although, she had no plans to go home for the 10 year reunion happening that weekend, a phone call from from an old flame framed for murder she drops everything to help him.
When Veronica arrives she learns that the local police department might be corrupt all the way to the top, she meets up with all her old friends who seem to have their lives in order, her father who used to be the Sheriff is still looking out for the little guy, and her strange attraction to her old boyfriend, Logan, is still there. Finding out that the murder that Logan is accused of might be connected to a murder that happened 10 years prior, Veronica dusts off her taser, pepper spray, and the biggest camera lens you’ve ever seen, and quickly falls into old ways.
With help of a voice over from the titular character we are given the bare minimum information to help the virgin viewer not feel so left out of the shotgun blast of characters and back stories that will be revealed over this 107 minute mystery. Unfortunately, it is not enough. Even as a fan of the series I found myself lost when some characters were introduced, while the remainder of the more rabid fans in the audience with me were applauding. Yet, you always knew when some fan favourite was about to be revealed because director Rob Thomas was certain to shoot them from an angle that made their big reveal a Tarantinoesque event- eliciting giggles, and whispers from the crowd until we are face to face with the mysterious person, but had you not know who they were then a wasted shot was used.
Make no mistake, the film has more than enough character and witty repartee for the uneducated viewer to enjoy themselves during the literal and metaphorical class reunion. Unfortunately this does not a film make. Veronica Mars the film is well executed movie length episode with as many twists and turns as a Raymond Chandler story, but had there been less characters to follow and more attention to the main story of Logan’s dead ex-girlfriend the film would certainly have worked as a stronger theatrical outing.
Kristen Bell, looks comfortable back in her role as the spunky Gumshoe. She’s quick with the wit and her charm is electric. Ex love interest Logan (Jason Dohring) is less enjoyable as he mopes his way through lines that are clearly meant to elicit sighs from the adoring Team Logan fans, but his dead delivery causes one to wonder how he got out of Community Theatre. Veronica’s father, played by Enrio Colantoni, might be the bright centre of the film. His fatherly admiration for his wise beyond her years, daughter coupled with his open disappointment in her when she makes a mistake are wonderful to watch. The charm between Dad and daughter are certainly worth the price of admission.
The love story, if you can call it that, is this reviewer’s mystery to solve. When we meet Veronica in New York she has it all, as they say. The great job, the great boyfriend- she has escaped her small town, which she tells us she never wants to go back to. Then, this person, Logan, calls her out of the blue, after almost 10 years to ask her to help him get out of a murder wrap and she drops everything to travel to Neptune to help him. So present boyfriend, Piz whom one has the idea they have been together for quite awhile, yet she is only just meeting his parents, is vocally worried that Veronica might go home his and come home Logans. When Veronica arrives in Neptune, we are given scenes full with, shall I say, music-filled tensity that seem to come out of nowhere. That, no place in this film do we see any reason that Veronica would have any connection to Logan, and, after 10 years, where we have to assume she has grown up, we see no reason they would have any connection still- save for some teenage fan service whom fell for this bad boy.
The film makes up of three mysteries Veronica needs to crack, the main murder, the corruption of the police force, and the accusation that a completely different friend was about to mug a socialite. All of which combine to a complete picture of the apparent downward spiral of Neptune. The clues never transcend the material and only seem to be there out of convenience, such as the actual solve of how all these characters keep getting filmed in the privacy of their own homes, which I won’t reveal here, but when it happens you can’t help but slap your forehead out of the sheer audacity that writer Thomas felt that this was the way to go… or, did he create it so he could get crowd favourite Ken Marino to reprise his role as rival detective?
All too busy, and all too convenient, Veronica Mars the film collapses under its own need to appease its fans, and provide a more complex mystery for our perky heroine to solve. With a character that does not seem to have evolved emotionally in the ten years since she left home, working within a story that is more convoluted than it need be, we have a film that only its fans will seek out after the fact. Although, newbies to the franchise should find much to enjoy in Veronica Mars, the film and the character, ultimately what we have here is a strong final episode of a TV series, but a miss of a film.
—— The Fan Review
—— Fan Score: 9.5
As I said above, this does not make for a great movie but it does make for one humdinger of an episode. With so many nods to the series that even this fan was not capable of catching all of them. No fan will be disappointed with this outing, and we all will be wishing for more. One part trip down memory lane this Kinder Surprise of cameos, nods, and references to the preceding three seasons that any fan will be a titter with glee, and one part challenging mystery for Veronica to show her smarts on. I stand by me belief that even while at school the Veronica and Logan relationship was fleeting at best and to bring back the hints of it only proves that either Rob Thomas does not know his characters well, or Veronica never grew up at all.