film review – Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars, once a beloved TV show and now a movie too thanks to its successful Kickstarter campain, is probably exactly what fans have been clamoring for. I say “probably”, because I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen the show, knew virtually nothing about its characters or plot going into movie. Luckily Veronica Mars‘ first few minutes start you off with the essentials: Veronica was a girl from Neptune, California, turned teenage private eye following the murder of one of her friends. At the start of the film she’s left all of that behind and instead is trying very hard to get herself a job at a prestigious law firm. Until she’s pulled back to Neptune of course: her ex-boyfriend contacts her because he needs her help clearing his name. What’s a girl to do?

What follows is an enjoyable albeit uneven romp in which Veronica gets up to her old tricks, which mostly means gathering evidence and interviewing possible suspects. It works quite well, because the Veronica Mars universe is populated with colorful characters and the actors portraying them obviously have fun doing so. While the constant voice-over is a bit grating, Kristen Bell otherwise does a nice job portraying the film’s heroine Veronica Mars. She’s sassy, smart, confident and Bell plays her like a women with a steely exterior but a soft center in which there’s much more going on than meets the eye. Bell is fun to watch and mainly the reason why the movie works as well as it does. On the acting side there are some funny cameo appearances too, which really add even more quirkiness to this self-aware film. Regarding the cast there’s really nothing to fault Veronica Mars with. The story’s where it gets problematic.

The plot of the movie is not bad perse, but it isn’t remarkable or even remotely thrilling either. That’s mainly because there’s no sense of danger to the proceedings and, while colorful, Veronica Mars‘ characters are too thinly drawn and too easy to read. Especially when you’ve seen a detective film before, you’ll know who’s who and what decissions Veronica and the other players are going to make. Because of it the movie does not only fail to surprise viewers, but it also starts to drag early on. Fans will obviously love the trip back to Neptune and eat up the return of their beloved characters, but Veronica Mars doesn’t offer newcomers much else than a barely okay detective pastiche.

Veronica Mars will probably please the fans of the show, but it won’t recruit many new ones. 5/10

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