Rejoice, Marshmallows: Following a groundbreaking Kickstarter campaign (full funding in 12 hours!), your favorite sardonic private eye is back, grown from surly adolescence into hardened adulthood. Rob Thomas’s pleasurable, fan-service–heavy reunion film, an epilogue to his three-season TV series, opens several years after Veronica (Kristen Bell) has left the sleuthing business and her hometown of Neptune, California. She’s relocated to Manhattan with boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell) and is being courted by a prestigious law firm whose boss, in the first of several celebrity cameos, is played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Then a call comes from estranged former lover Logan (Jason Dohring), who’s been accused of murdering his pop-star girlfriend. How can Veronica resist dusting off her magnifying glass?
Anyone who has ever loved a television show can see that Thomas and his crew are working overtime to give VM aficionados everything they want. Up to a point, their desire to please is infectious, even to those (like yours truly) who wouldn’t know characters like Weevil or Dick Casablancas from Adam. Bell takes to her signature role with wisecracking ease, and her scenes with Dohring crackle with the kind of emo Mulder/Scully tension that inspires a million slash fictions. The mystery is beside the point, and indeed, the whodunit is actually a whocares—a flimsy excuse to get the band back together and make winky references to episodes past. (A lengthy, laborious high-school reunion sequence is so stuffed with Mars bit players and other allusional arcana that it should require its own secret handshake.) For better and for worse, this is a movie where you can truly say that fans have gotten everything they’ve paid for.
Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich