Nine years after she left Neptune, California, and her life as a private investigator behind, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is just about to land her dream job as a lawyer when a former schoolmate turned rockstar is murdered. It’s not before Logan (Jason Dohring), the boyfriend of the slain woman, calls up his old flame Veronica to ask for her help in proving his innocence, and Veronica is pulled back to her hometown, just in time for her high school reunion.
Veronica Mars is the first really high profile film to come about on the back of a Kickstarter campaign – we have still got Zach Braff’s Wish I was Here to look forward to – and it was due to fan tenacity after the show was cancelled in 2007 that the Kickstarter campaign happened at all. It’s fairly clear then, that Veronica Mars is a film made for the fans of the TV show.
Kristen Bell reprises her role as the title character and brings Veronica back with the same sarcastic and irreverent attitude that she had in the show. Bell is also charming and warm and, even though some of the choices made for her character feel a little convenient, there is something endearing about seeing Mars back on the screen after such a long hiatus. Jason Dohring reprises his role as Logan and has great chemistry with Bell, Enrico Colantoni is back as Veronica’s father – although he has considerably less to do here than in the show – and brings with him his slightly awkward catchphrase ‘Who’s your Daddy?’. Percy Daggs III also returns as Veronica’s former best friend turned teacher Wallace and Krysten Ritter is back as Gia Goodman. Each of the cast members takes their character changes in their stride and it feels as though their return to the roles they once inhabited is like putting on a comfy jumper for the actors.
Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero’s story sees Veronica return to her old hometown and confronting the people and issues that she thought she had left behind. There is a definite sense of closure going on here as old enmities and friendships are rekindled, and Mars finds herself drawn back into the world she walked away from. There are plenty of callbacks and references to the original show to keep fans happy, including Mars’s infamous marshmallow line from the very first episode. That said, even though there is a quick recap at the start of the film, without ever having seen the TV show, there is little for you here in terms of emotional investment, as all of the issues that are resolved in the film feel flat without knowing more of the back story.
Veronica Mars is obviously a labour of love for the cast and crew of the film, and there is plenty here for fans and casual viewers of the show. Those coming to Veronica Mars for the first time, however, may find themselves a little out of their depth even though Bell is beautifully feisty and manages to catch the bad guy… As always.