Overview: Veronica Mars abandons her new job offer at a prestigious law firm in New York to return to Neptune and her knack for sleuthing to help clear her ex-boyfriend’s name. Warner Bros. Pictures; 2014; Rated PG-13; 107 minutes.
Return of the Marshmallow: Kristen Bell slips back into the role of Veronica Mars so seamlessly, it’s easy to forget we haven’t seen this character in seven years. Her acting experience since the show only benefited her in this current depiction of the snarky detective. This time around, she adds more depth to all of her usual quips and smirks. Kudos are also due to Enrico Colantoni, who reprised his role as Veronica’s dad Keith Mars, and maintained- even enhanced– our favorite onscreen father/daughter relationship. His struggle between enjoying having his daughter home and simultaneously wanting her far away from the black hole that is Neptune comes across as genuine. Their playful banter is also a refreshing reminder of one of the best parts of the show.
Return of the 09ers: Director Rob Thomas makes us feel like we never left Neptune. Logan in a uniform, Wallace, Mac, Weevil, even Piz. The gang’s all here. The onslaught of returning faces creates a sense of nostalgia all Marshmallows will appreciate. High school reunion antics relay the well-known message that some people really don’t change in this town, especially in the 0909 zip code.
However, some of the movie’s A-list cameos detract rather than strengthen the quality of the film. Bell’s husband Dax Shepard as a creepy guy at the 09er bar seems out of place. The scenes with James Franco playing James Franco are unnecessary and do little other than distract from the plot and viewers’ ability to revel in the familiarity of Neptune. We want what we know and love.
Final Thoughts: Thomas provides the die-hard Veronica Mars fans with exactly what they have needed since the TV show abruptly ended back in 2007. We got closure. We get a Veronica/Logan reunion. We get to revisit some of our favorite TV characters of all time. Many of us graduated high school with these people and have anticipated their reunion more than our own. Veronica stands up to the mean girls like we always want to. She also finally comes to terms with the inevitable fact that she can’t escape her world in Neptune. And in fact, she doesn’t want to leave after all. She’s an addict, and so are we. This film is not an award winner, and it probably won’t impact many people who aren’t already versed in all that is Mars. It’s a tribute to the fans, because without them this movie literally would never have been made. I speak for all Marshmallows when I say, thank you Rob Thomas.