Movie Review
Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published March 14, 2014
US Release: March 14, 2014

Directed by: Rob Thomas
Starring: Kristen Bell , James Franco , Tina Majorino , Justin Long

PG-13 for sexuality including references, drug content, violence and some strong language
Running Time: 107 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $3,322,000
58 of 111
As smart as it tries to be in every department, thereís everything here that typical television offers.
Judging from the crowd reactions at its first midnight screening, Veronica Mars isnít likely to make fans with newbieís who donít watch the television program but is likely to give diehard fans exactly what they are looking for in this big-screen translation. It seemed to be a big hit amongst college students, especially females, judging from the high enthusiasm in the room throughout and it reminded me of what many screenings of Sex and the City were probably like when the movie opened. The audience was already clapping over the Warner Bros logo and the title card drew a bigger ovation, and there were warm receptions when each character entered the screen and certain applause bits. I had never watched the television program because it didnít look like my sensibility and the movie version plays like a two-hour television series transported on the big-screen for big fans to watch with other big fans.

I wasnít familiar with its ensemble cast of characters and story, and this adaptation didnít enlighten me on anything either and it plays exclusively as if everybody who watches will understand every single reference that a character makes. I donít watch very much television and this movie was a reminder as to why I donít watch very much. I find that most television programs are very stagey and unbelievable and Iím also not a fan of choreographed cute one-liners designed to illicit cheap giggles, and I found that this movie fit in line with many average chick flicks. Itís a unique case because the concept is unlike anything else and yet itís also as formulaic as anything else. Itís a lighthearted female empowerment detective story centered on a strong-willed and sophisticated young woman, but in execution in every department there are no surprises in the way that itís executed. Even if you arenít familiar with the setup, the direction behind the movie makes you know what will happen. As smart as it tries to be in every department, thereís everything here that typical television offers.

When I see movies in theaters, I want to see something that you canít watch on television, and I get frustrated when the big-screen hands you something that could easily be free. Diehard fans of the series arenít going to complain here because the movie validates their viewership as the audience was giddily going along with it. If you like what you see on television, youíre going to like it and have a good reaction to the movie. If you donít watch it or have never heard of it before, youíre going to be lost and just be staring blankly the whole time. Itís not a horrible movie even if youíre lost with it but you clearly have to be a fan of the characters already to enjoy this. The acting is all fine but at the same time, many of the characters are as stereotypical-television as it comes, which makes it a mixed bag to review that aspect because most of the characters are not original. The central female character is very original and compelling, but I find the script to be too heavily staged. When I say itís all staged, I can picture the script that was written for them and it didnít need to be a movie.

Most of the time I was bored by it and at a certain point I asked myself why I even invested in this movie because it was pretty logical to presume it would be exactly like the program it is based. Beforehand I had no interest in sitting down to watch any part of the series, and after seeing the entire movie, I still didnít have any interest in catching up with what itís all about. Iíve heard through the grapevine that itís a better-than-average program designed to please hip and smarter viewers, but as I was watching this, none of those descriptions were coming true for me and I was just rolling my eyes at it. I felt like I was at home watching a typical television program and usually I can just turn that off immediately. I grudgingly watched the entire feature, but by the end of the movie, I was never validated by the decision to try it.
Lee's Grade: C
Ranked #58 of 111 between Endless Love (#57) and The Other Woman (#59) for 2014 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 3025 graded movies
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