Every fan of a cancelled television show likes to imagine what would happen if the show went on -- what would happen to the characters next?  Thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter project, the three-season television show Veronica Mars got a new life with the full-length movie Veronica Mars.

Nine years after the end of the tv series, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) has created a new, better life for herself.  She left her hated hometown of Neptune, California for New York City.  She's in a loving, stable relationship with Stoch "Piz" Piznarksi (Chris Lowell), she's about to take the bar exam, and she's on the verge of getting a lucrative job offer from a big firm.  Then the past comes calling.

Veronica's bad-box ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dohring) has made national headlines when he's accused of murdering his famous pop-singer girlfriend -- and he wants Veronica's help.  At first, Veronica only agrees to help him choose a lawyer.  But then clues start surfacing, and before you know it Veronica is digging out her taser, pepper spray, and camera with telephoto lens to find out how a mystery from years ago is related to Logan's case.  There's also the police corruption and racial tension of Neptune, her high school reunion, her old friends Wallace (Percy Daggs III) and "Mac" (Tina Majorino), and her dad Keith (Enrico Colantoni) who's still a low-end P.I. and who's worried about Veronica avoiding her New York future to help Logan.
Veronica Mars is a nice return to the characters and world of the tv series -- but it suffers from not going beyond what the episodes of the series did.  There are Veronica's voice-overs and phone identities popping up on the screen, plus a reunion that is there to give the audience a "Where are they now?" answer to the characters from the show.  The movie can get self-referential (such as talking about a Kickstarter project or someone thanking someone else for "keeping it PG-13" -- the movie's rating) and shows how a place that's hated can still suck an intelligent, independent woman back to it.  Veronica Mars will certainly give the fans what they wanted -- or as close to what they wanted without a whole new series -- but it can't escape the feel of being a slightly longer episode of the show.  (The dvd extra is a making-of that talks a lot about the Kickstarter experience.)
Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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