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New 'Veronica Mars' good for a rental viewing

March 18, 2014

I have been waiting seven years for the "Veronica Mars" movie. Seriously, I sometimes hear Veronica Mars' (Kristen Bell) voiceover in my head, narrating my life with the sharp tongue only a sassy gumshoe, who has nothing to lose, could possess.

As an avid fan of the 2004-07 television show, I cannot tell you how excited I was to see the project pop up on Kickstarter (Warner Bros. pitched in, too). The fans raised double the money needed, which isn't surprising; when the show was canceled after the third season, fans mailed thousands upon thousands of Mars candy bars to Warner Bros. in protest.

So, how was it?

The movie picks up 10 years later, when Veronica is asked to help her on-again-off-again bad boy lover Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). Even though Veronica is a marshmallow these days — she hasn't had a case in years, she lives in New York with nice guy Piz (Chris Lowell), she has a Stanford Law Degree and about to have a dream job — she can't resist the pull of Neptune, much to the ominous disappointment of her, father Keith (Enrico Colantoni).

Logan has been accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend and needs to navigate the corrupt police department, seedy town and conspiring oh-niners to shake the charges.

While the movie played out like a television episode, keep in mind that neither the show nor the film is a teeny-bopper drama. Overarching themes such as class warfare, sexual assault, addiction and obsession fuel Veronica's vigilante need to find justice for herself.

The story has enough twists to keep you interested by the mystery, character decisions and collateral damage. The dialogue is snappy and tightly written, but meaningful and sincere when needed. The character development is perhaps a bit predictable but so very gratifying — we all knew Veronica couldn't be a marshmallow forever.

The movie has been simmering in creator Rob Thomas' head for seven years. It's just good writing, plain and simple.

Fans won't be disappointed. I was so ecstatic for each Easter egg in the movie. The movie opens with a New York street performer innocuously playing the opening theme song on his guitar. Here's another one: At some point Deputy Leo, played by New Girl star Max Greenfield, asks Veronica if she ever joined the FBI. (This is a jab at Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell's short episode, a last-ditch effort to renew the TV series, where Veronica becomes an FBI intern.)

Would you appreciate the movie if you never watched the show? Probably not. But with Netflix, why not give it shot? And you can even buy a digital copy of the new "Veronica Mars" from iTunes or Amazon.

I'm also curious to see whether there will be a series reboot or sequel. A few deliberately unanswered questions stick the gumshoe in the door just wide enough to warrant one.

Rating: B

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

The Art of the Bicycle: Dec. 17-20, Delafield Arts Center, 719 Genesee St., Delafield. Diane Lehman, Peter Kudlata and Wheel & Sprocket. Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Friday: 11am-4pm; first and third Saturdays of each month: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and by appointment. Free. http://www.delafieldartscenter.org/.

Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: 5-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 5-10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays through Dec. 31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details., $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van http://www.thecountrychristmas.com.

Nutcracker Ballet: 7 p.m. Dec. 19; 1 p.m., 7 p.m. Dec. 20; 2 p.m. Dec. 21, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 East Forest Street, Oconomwoc. Mainstage Academy of Dance performs this beloved Tchaikovsky ballet, a holiday classic the whole family will enjoy. Visit www.theoac.net for more information or tickets. $14-$16 http://www.wedancemainstage.com 

Tom Heideman’s Swamp Party: 9:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Delafield Brewhaus, 3832 Hillside Drive, Delafield. For more information call (262) 646-7821.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.