For three seasons Kristen Bell played the title character on television’s “Veronica Mars,” a teen detective show about a young woman who solved crimes in the upscale town of Neptune, California.
She’s back on the big screen in the inventively titled “Veronica Mars,” co-starring with some familiar faces from the original show, in a reunion movie that sees the former teenaged private eye turned psychologist and Ivy League lawyer pulled back into the PI game when her high school boyfriend (Jason Dohring) is charged with killing his pop star girlfriend.
The movie, which was funded through a Kickstarter campaign, is as cinematic as you might imagine a movie based on a TV show to be. It plays like a longer, blown up version of the show, which will play well to the fans who are hungry for more of their favorite characters, but may leave the uninitiated wondering what the fuss is all about.
Veronica Mars is an engaging character and Bell wears her like a glove, tossing off some zingy one-liners—“You won’t shoot me,” says a bad guy. “Why does everyone say that?” Mars replies, pulling the trigger—and bringing an easy charm to the role.
It’s too bad the story plays like an old episode of “Murder She Wrote,” with none of the sophistication we would expect from a big screen outing. “Veronica Mars” is a character based piece, with the murder tagged on to give us a reason for watching, but it would have been more interesting if the death was more than just a McGuffin.
On the plus side there is a nod to Canada—in the form of a sloppy karaoke version of our national anthem—and there’s even a Barenaked Ladies gag.