Welcome back to Neptune, California, a sunny place with lots of shady doings, and the gumshoe detective who sheds light on it all, now all grown up. As Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell is perfectly smooth and unruffled as always, helping to bring on the nostalgia that fans of the show will be sure to love. But Kristen is so fresh and engaging, still an outsider looking into a world of privilege and pretentiousness, that even those unfamiliar with the original series will find something to latch onto and enjoy in the film.
Sure, at times it feels like an ‘extended episode’, but since the source material is so strong, this isn’t necessarily a problem: in the film, we find Veronica just getting out of law school, nine years after the series’ conclusion, being courted by a top NYC law firm. Sure enough, a sensational story comes across the airwaves from Neptune: a young pop star was found murdered in her bathtub, and as luck would have it (of course), said pop star went to high school with Veronica and was dating Logan, Veronica’s long-lost enemy-turned-lover.
What ensues is an investigation in which Veronica finds herself deeply immersed, to the chagrin of her private eye father (the strong character actor Enrico Colantoni). He wants her to return to New York, and to her boyfriend, far away from the sketchiness of their hometown. But as we know all too well, Veronica never could resist a good and sketchy mystery.
All the great old faces are here, from Tina Majorino and Krysten Ritter to Aaron Ashmore and Ryan Hansen, as well as some new ones: Gaby Hoffman shines in a kooky role (even kookier than her turn on Girls) as a diehard fan of the murder victim. She supplies more than her share of welcome comic relief.
The major problem of the film is that there is no real ‘bad guy’ – whoever he or she is, it’s a side note majorly lacking in set up and development. Furthermore, the weak link for this reviewer was Jason Dohring’s character Logan Echolls – perhaps, for those who have watched the series, his history with Veronica helps to bestow him with some (any) appeal. But as it stands in the film, he is so patently bland, so unappealing, it is highly questionable why Veronica would want to leave the adorable Piz (the adorable Chris Lowell) for this guy.