Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big-screen Mars film fun for fans

  • Print

Fan-demanded and fan-financed, Veronica Mars represents some sort of new movie-making paradigm. If you love something so much that you'd "pay to see that," you can now turn that dream project into a big-screen reality by ponying up a piece of the production financing yourself.

From a fan's standpoint, that's cool. This movie caters to them.

But as another in the rich tradition of private detective thrillers, the big-screen Veronica isn't just for fans only. Almost, though.

A generic murder-mystery with the private eye narrating the investigation in voice-over, this class reunion dramedy chugs along on the goodwill the cast built up over the show's 2004-2007 run. Co-writer and director Rob Thomas tailored this to run on the familiar set-up and joke rhythms of a TV sitcom, custom fit for the vulnerable, hesitant sass of Kristen Bell, his star.

It's self-conscious to a fault. It plays as melodramatic, and a little dated. And when it comes to laughs, it tries too hard, like a 30-year-old straining to get her senior-year skinny jeans to fit.

As Veronica, fresh out of law school, living in New York and about to marry Piz (Chris Lowell), says, "Old habits die hard."

So when her one-time nemesis-turned-lover Logan (Jason Dohring), now in the navy, is accused of killing his pop-star girlfriend, Veronica answers the call. She'll fly cross-country to Neptune Beach, where the dead pop star also was a classmate back when they were in high school a decade ago. Veronica is sniffing around the case, but promises her dad (Enrico Colantoni) she won't get too caught up in it just as her dreaded 10-year reunion is happening.

The underpinnings of the TV show are exposed in a compact opening montage and assorted snarky or sweet "You haven't changed a bit" reunion moments. Early scenes are heavy on the incessant Veronica-narration and exposition, references to incidents and accidents from years ago, from a sex tape to a drowning death.

But the filmgoer is constantly reminded that this was a TV show, after all, as most of the players are TV bland -- emoting only from the neck up. And even at that, it takes them a while for them to get their feet back under themselves as they fall back into this world and the roles they played in it.

Halfway in, however, something clicks and the magic that fans fell in love with splashes up on even the casual Veronica viewer. The one-liners land and the pop-culture references pile up. Cracks about The Accused and Yahtzee pepper the picture between TMZ riffs and cameos by the likes of James Franco, Justin Long, Ira Glass and Dax Shepard (Bell's husband).

For all its fun flourishes and tepid overfamiliarity, fans are going to dig this. It is, after all, the movie they paid for. They're the folks who like this sort of thing. The rest of us can be forgiven for waiting for it to show up on Netflix, so we can watch it on TV.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2014 D5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - The Floodway Connection

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which of Manitoba's new landlord-tenant rules are you looking forward to most?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google