Veronica Mars

3 out of 5

Directed by: Rob Thomas

Veronica Mars is a trash heap of a person.  She frequently craps on her friends, on her boyfriends, on her dad, on casual acquaintances, and, why not, on her own life as well.  Thank goodness creator Rob Thomas got Kristen Bell to portray her, giving her constantly snarky dialogue a sense of life beyond its snips, and her character a defining sense of contemplation behind her eyes, helping to smooth over her constantly dunderheaded and horrible-human-being decision making as, alas, regular-human-being flaws.

Still, Veronica Mars – the show and the movie – are at its best when we’re not sifting through the wasteland soap opera dramatics of VM the character’s life, and instead are focused on the pitch that I think got us there in the first place: a high schooler P.I., helping ex-sheriff father (Enrico Colantoni) on his post-cop P.I. job, solving crimes both big and small, across both season-long arcs involving murders and rapes and bottle-episode cases of stolen homework and the like.  She would get to college, be floated offers in the F.B.I., and now, about a decade after we last saw her, in Veronica Mars the movie, she’s on the verge of a law career with a big name firm.  But first… old flame Logan (Jason Dohring) has been accused of murder back in her hometown of Neptune, so maybe there’s time for one more case.

While our film opens with a quick, narrated coverage of what the show was all about, this Kickstarted project is for the fans, and doesn’t take time beyond that fast-forward to worry about picking up new ones.  All of the important principle cast returns, immediately shunted into their prior pitter-patter dialogue patterns, and all of the old habits from the show return as well, including trash-heap Veronica and Thomas’ love for including eye-rollingly annoying romantic subplots.  And given that the film is shot and edited exactly like the show was, including frequent breaks where commercials would go, my opinion is similarly exactly the same: I enjoy the heck out of this stuff when everyone’s bopping along on solving the case.  Not so much when Veronica and Logan are making fated-lovers googly eyes at each other and making stupid decisions that just take up screen time.

But my love/hate with that was enough to happily fuel my watching three (and now four) seasons of the show, so it was certainly enough to make the movie an enjoyable time as well.