"TV Mystery Redux"
VERONICA MARS is a feature-film revival of the cult TV series where a young woman solves crimes as a detective in her mysterious small California town. In the movie, Veronica Mars returns to her small hometown to investigate the murder of her former boyfriend’s girlfriend. VERONIC MARS has a strong mixed pagan worldview with some moral, redemptive and patriotic elements, plus a significant amount of foul language and other crude behavior.
MARS builds on a UPN television network series that ran from 2001 to 2004 and developed a small but strong cult following. In the series, Veronica was the daughter of the police chief of Neptune, California, a small town that’s overrun with unusual crimes, and she became a detective assisting him after she tried to solve her best friend’s murder.
In the new movie, Veronica (Kristen Bell) has grown up and moved to the East Coast, living with a boyfriend as she applies for a job at a top law firm. When her ex-boyfriend from high school is accused of the murder of a pop star who was a fellow former classmate, Veronica goes back home to support him and help clear his name while searching for the real killer. Coincidentally, she has traveled home on the weekend of their 10 year high school reunion, so her investigation forces her to attend and mingle at the very reunion she swore never to attend. Meanwhile, her father has been deposed as sheriff, and the new sheriff is engaged in some shady shenanigans.
That’s the setup for a movie that has clever dialogue and some well-drawn characters as well as a satisfyingly twisty mystery. However, it will definitely hold more appeal for old fans of the TV series than for new viewers, for whom it will seem like an above-average and extended TV episode. The movie’s limited budget for the movie, which was made for $6 million raised from fans through a Kickstarter funding campaign, means the action scenes are few and far between, and the movie as a whole has a tone that feels too low-key.
Veronica has a sarcastic character, including a nonchalant attitude toward her sex life that makes the character problematic to root for at times. The movie also has an unnecessary series of running jokes that show approval of casual sex amid a mystery plot that doesn’t really need them. However, Veronica does display honorable loyalty towards her father and true friends, and a sense of justice that ultimately makes her decide to return to her hometown for good and continue to solve crimes.
Overall, VERONICA MARS is well made but fairly forgettable for casual viewers who aren’t fans of the original series. It’s designed for mature audiences. The foul language and sexual content require extreme caution.
(PaPa, B, PP, C, Ab, LLL, V, SS, N, AA, DD, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with some moral elements about integrity and seeking truth, and a strong patriotic character who is proud of his military service and willing to sacrifice an important love relationship for a military mission, plus a positive reference to Jesus, but a rumor is spread that woman was killed by the Catholic Church for sleeping with a priest; about 26 obscenities (including one “f” word), one GD profanity and six light profanities; light violence includes a couple of chases and gunshots before a climactic but not graphic punching and kicking fight, man gets shot but not graphically, and mention is made of corrupt police running amok in town, and one policeman is shown beating up and Tasering a teenage graffiti artist; obscured depicted fornication under sheets in sex tape, implied fornication, talk about past sexual activity, some crude references; no explicit nudity but partial upper male nudity; alcohol use and slight drunkenness, plus heroine mentions her mother was an alcoholic; a reference to quitting smoking and references to marijuana use, plus a comparison of being addicted to detective work as like a junkie; and, police corruption, a small town is rampant with bad behavior (including gang activity), and heroine and her cohorts break all sorts of rules to solve murder mystery.
VERONICA MARS is a feature-film revival of the cult TV series. Veronica returns to her small hometown in California to investigate the murder of her former high school boyfriend’s girlfriend, a pop star and former classmate. As it so happens, her trip home occurs on the same weekend of their 10-year high school reunion. So, her investigation forces her to attend and mingle at the very reunion she swore never to attend. Meanwhile, her father has been deposed as sheriff, and the new sheriff is engaged in some shady shenanigans.
VERONICA MARS has clever dialogue and well-drawn characters as well as a satisfyingly twisty mystery. Veronica has a sarcastic character, including a promiscuous attitude toward her romantic life. However, she does display honor and loyalty toward her father and her true friends. She also has a strong sense of justice that ultimately makes her decide to return to her hometown for good and continue to solve crimes with her dad. That said, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for plenty of foul language and other crude content in the movie version of VERONICA MARS.