Movie Review: Kristen Bell Shines As Veronica Mars

From 2004-2007 you would have been hard-pressed in my opinion to find a better show on television than Veronica Mars, save for The Shield. It was one of those series that I could not and would not let pile up on the DVR; I simply HAD to watch it every week. I needed my fix. When it was unceremoniously yanked from me in May 0f 2007 I felt gutted. With all the reality crap on the tube that was being green lit, something with unbelievably fresh writing was to be cast aside and tossed over the network’s shoulder like an empty beer can? I was pissed, and rightfully so. And apparently, I’m not the only one. When creator Rob Thomas launched the Kickstarter campaign he had NO IDEA they’d raise $1 million in four hours, or eclipse their goal of $2 million in only ten! Ultimately $5.7 million was raised. The “Marshmallows” had spoken, over 91,000 of them, actually.

veronica-mars-movie-posterVeronica Mars hit theaters and On Demand streaming services this weekend and there was much rejoicing in the streets. Kristen Bell as the title character is just as smart, witty, and sexy as she was then, and when she and her on-screen father Keith (played to perfection by Enrico Colantoni) are together it’s as if they never left. The story takes place nine years since the series demise with Veronica interviewing for a high-profile law gig in New York. She has left her P.I. life behind and is happily in a relationship with Piz (Chris Lowell). All seems well until the phone rings after nine years of radio silence and it’s Logan Echolls, her old flame, (Jason Dohring, who has been sorely missed on TV) accused of the murder of his pop star girlfriend and former classmate Bonnie DeVille (Andrea Estella, replacing Leighton Meester). Flying out to her hometown of Neptune, CA just to help him pick a good lawyer, Veronica finds herself inexplicably pulled into the case determined to find out who really did it.

Of course, ALL the usual suspects returned for this film, and it’s great to see Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Mac (Tina Majorino), Weevil (Francis Capra), Gia (Krysten Ritter), etc. Each one steps back into his/her role like almost no time has passed, and the banter had me laughing out loud early and often. Jerry O’ Connell is his usual sleazy self as the corrupt sheriff Dan Lamb, and we even catch up with Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino), the scumbag P.I. who was a foil throughout the series run.

Rob Thomas, who co-wrote the film with series executive producer Diane Ruggiero, weaves a tale of murder and intrigue, distrust and corruption, and the performances clearly warrant a theatrical release instead of some made-for-TV film to tie up loose ends. I personally chose to watch it on iTunes because I hate movie theaters and crowds, so kicking back in the comfort of my own home was a bonus.

With an outstanding script, excellent pacing, and a knockout performance from the one and only Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars is an out-of-the-park home run. I enjoyed every minute of my trip back to Neptune and you can be sure I’ll watch it again very soon. I also detect a marathon of the series in my future for the millionth time. (PG-13, 107 minutes)

RATING: 10/10

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