Review: "Veronica Mars" more than makes up for its flaws - East Valley Tribune: Movies

Review: "Veronica Mars" more than makes up for its flaws

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Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:09 pm | Updated: 2:28 pm, Thu Mar 13, 2014.

“Veronica Mars” had one truly amazing season followed by two pretty good seasons. The critically acclaimed series was then abruptly cancelled, but left behind a dedicated fanbase. A fanbase so dedicated that they donated over five million dollars on Kickstarter to get a “Veronica Mars” movie off the ground. Now in the same vein of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly,” the crime solving young adult has been resurrected for a feature written and directed by series creator Rob Thomas.

The plot finds Veronica (Kristen Bell) nine years after her cancellation in New York City. The plucky detective has given up sleuthing to pursue a career as a lawyer. Her plans take a detour, however, when a former classmate is murdered. The prime suspect just so happens to be Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), Veronica’s ex-rival/ex-friend/ex-boyfriend. Veronica is the only one who believes Logan is innocent and flies down to her hometown of Neptune. Upon arriving, Veronica finds that the local sheriff’s office is still corrupt and the only competent law enforcer in town is her P.I. father (Enrico Colantoni).

Pretty much everything that made the series great is on display in this movie. Kristen Bell couldn’t be better suited to play smart, resourceful Veronica. Her romantic chemistry with Logan hits just the right note. Veronica’s relationship with her father is one of the most memorable parent/child dynamics in recent memory. The writing is witty and pop-culture savvy. The mystery is always engaging and keeps you guessing. There’s just a ton to love.

That being said, “Veronica Mars” the series wasn’t perfect and neither is this screen adaptation. The downside of both entities is in the supporting cast, which includes Percy Daggs III as best friend Wallace, Tina Majorino as computer wiz Mac, Francis Capra as reformed biker Weevil, and Ryan Hansen as pigheaded Dick. They’re all enjoyable presences, but have never really contributed a ton to the plot. Most of them come and go with little to do. The same can said about cameo players such as Jamie Lee Curtis, James Franco, and Justin Long. There are also several underdeveloped/rushed/pointless subplots involving Veronica’s new lawyer job, Weevil turning his life around, and Veronica having a normal relationship with her boring boyfriend Piz.

Even with these problems, though, both the show and movie offer more than enough to compensate. If you never saw the series, you probably won’t appreciate the in-jokes and ongoing plot in this film. But why would you be watching the film or reading this review if you weren’t a fan of the series? “Veronica Mars” is all about the fans and it gives them exactly what they want: Closure with the possibility of further installments. Now if only we could get proper endings to “Pushing Daisies,” “Twin Peaks,” “Carnivale,” “Samurai Jack,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” “My Name is Earl,” “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures,” and “Hey Arnold,” all would be right in the world.

Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for the past seven years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com . Reach the reporter at nspake@asu.edu

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