March 14, 2014 at 8:37 am

Tom Long

Review: This 'Veronica Mars' is well worth revisiting

Former Detroiter Kristen Bell reprises her Veronica Mars role from the critically acclaimed TV detective series for the big screen. (Robert Voets / Warner Bros.)

What if someone made the best episode ever of “Veronica Mars”?

Actually, that wouldn’t mean much to most people. Though it drew critical raves, the decade-old TV show starring former Detroiter Kristen Bell never had much of an audience.

But the audience it did have was rabid in its devotion. So, boy, are they going to be happy. Because “Veronica Mars” the movie, out today in theaters and on VOD, is indeed the best episode ever of “Veronica Mars.”

Much of this probably has to do with writer-director Rob Thomas finally getting to do things his way, with no network interference, thanks to the film’s Kickstarter funding. It also helps that the story isn’t dragged out over a season of episodes.

Ten years on, the former girl detective has just finished law school and is being offered a job in a high-powered New York firm when she gets a call: It’s her old bad boy lover, Logan (Jason Dohring), and he’s been accused of murder. Can Veronica fly back to California and help him choose a lawyer?

Yeah, right, that’s all she’ll be doing.

What follows is a reunion of the original cast with a few witty cameos (including one from Bell’s husband and fellow Michiganian Dax Shepard). It isn’t essential to know these characters, but it probably helps. Still, Thomas weaves them into a mystery about a drowning a decade earlier that’s filled with intrigue.

In the center, of course, is Bell, still right on target with the wisecracks and attitude that made “Mars” work. With the success of “The Hunger Games,” “Gravity” and Bell’s “Frozen,” strong women are finally being acknowledged in Hollywood. Guess what? “Veronica” was there all along.

'Veronica Mars'

GRADE: B+

Rated PG-13 for sexuality including references, drug content, violence and some strong language

Running time: 107 minutes

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