Veronica Mars

  • Review Date: March 14, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Charming, bantery thriller is made by and for die-hard fans.
  • Review Date: March 14, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie, like the series, is concerned with standing up for the truth, even when it's inconvenient or difficult to unearth. Veronica makes unpopular and sometimes questionable decisions, but she's ultimate true to herself and who/where/with whom she wants to be.

Positive role models

Veronica is still a strong, independent, smart woman who has a close, admirable relationship with her father. She makes a couple of questionable -- but predictable -- decisions to return to Neptune and help the former love of her life. She sometimes breaks the law to get to the truth. She's also willing to stand up to powerful and popular people if it means clearing someone's name.

Violence

Like the show, the movie contains some violence and a body count -- the victim of the movie's major mystery (who was electrocuted in the bath tub), plus a few others, including two people who are shot, another who's purposely hit by car, discussions of a teen who overdosed and drowned, and a couple of seriously injured characters.

Sex

Two sex tapes are briefly shown, but neither shows more than people on a bed with some moaning (one is grainy and black-and-white without audio). It's clear two different couples have sex (one more than once), but the sex scenes aren't graphic (passionate kissing, shirtless guy, woman wears only a shirt).

Language

Occasional use of words including "bitch," "s--t," "s--tty," "dick," "crazy bitch," "a--hole," and one "f--k off."

Consumerism

Several obvious product placements and references include Samsung computers, tablets, and phones (no one seems to own another technology brand); a BMW; YouTube; TMZ; Skype; IMDB; Diet Pepsi; Budweiser beer; New York Post; and Entertainment Weekly. Piz works at New York's NPR station with Ira Glass, who produces This American Life

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink cocktails, beer, and wine at parties, dinner, and a bar. A video of a man holding a bong is shown, and there's a conversation about a video of a pop star snorting lines of cocaine. Several twentysomethings discuss a night when a classmate died after they were all very drunk and high on drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Veronica Mars is the much-hyped Kickstarter-funded follow-up to the popular TV show that ran for only three seasons from 2004 to 2007. Starring Kristen Bell and the rest of the cast reprising their roles as the former Neptune High characters 10 years out of high school, the movie contains pretty much the same amount of violence, drug references, and passionate kissing as the series, but there's more strong language ("s--t," "a--hole," one "f--k off"), sexual innuendo, and a couple of love scenes. Like the show, the movie is about standing up for the truth and those who've been written off as guilty.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Nine years after the events of the show's third and final season, VERONICA MARS (Kristen Bell) is a Columbia Law grad interviewing at high-powered law firms in New York City and romantically with Stosh "Piz" Piznarski (Chris Lowell). On the eve of Neptune High's 10th reunion, news breaks that Mars' former flame Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is once again a suspect in a murder -- that of his girlfriend, a famous popstar and fellow Neptune High grad. After nearly a decade of radio silence, Logan calls Veronica asking for help, and she decides to say yes -- returning to her childhood home to help her ex. Back in Neptune, Veronica -- much to her father's horror -- starts sleuthing again to help Logan, even though the decision comes at great personal and professional cost.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The best advice to prepare for Veronica Mars the movie is to watch all three seasons of the cult favorite on DVD or via a streaming subscription. Fans of the show will obviously be enamored with this theatrical follow up, which writer-director Rob Thomas seemed to write as one long thank you to the diehards who kept raving about the show long after it's premature cancelation. But you don't have to be a series follower to enjoy the movie. Sure, you may not get all of the inside jokes or quotes that reference the series, but you will still revel in the witty writing and the exceptional performances by actors who clearly love their characters.

Although the movie's central mystery is "who killed Logan's girlfriend?" (it obviously wasn't Logan, or Veronica wouldn't have flown cross country to help him), this is a story about how you can't escape your roots, about figuring out who you are and who you love, even if it's not exactly what you expected. Without giving too much away, let's just say that this is part mystery, part love story, part father-daughter drama -- just like the show. Most of Veronica's pals and former antagonists get some screen time, like Wallace and Mac (Percy Daggs III and Tina Majorino); Weevil (Francis Capra), Dick (Ryan Hansen), and Gia (Krysten Ritter). Even Bell's real-life husband Dax Shepard has a hilarious cameo. If you watched a show, you're in for a treat, but if you didn't, it's still a worthy and well-written mystery/comedy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of movies based on television shows. Why does Veronica Mars lend itself to a follow up? Does it answer unresolved questions from the show?

  • Discuss the movie as a standalone movie versus a follow-up to a TV show. Do you need to be a fan of the show to like the movie? What "extras" do you get as a viewer if you were a fan of the series?

  • To those who didn't watch the show: does the movie spark an interest in streaming or watching the series on DVD?

  • The movie was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and includes a lot of recognizable brands. Were the product placements obvious or distracting?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 14, 2014
DVD release date:May 6, 2014
Cast:Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Krysten Ritter
Director:Rob Thomas
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Topics:Great girl role models
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexuality including references, drug content, violence and some strong language

This review of Veronica Mars was written by

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Educator and Parent Written byMovie Review Maven June 1, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Kickstarter success for fans

Veronica Mars fans celebrate KickStarter success Movie Title: Veronica Mars PG-13, 1 hour 48 minutes Grade: B+ In a Nutshell: Who says you can’t go home? Thanks to Kickstarter, fans of the Veronica Mars TV show finally get to watch a new, extended “episode” of their favorite fast-talking teen-detective, all grown up. The first couple of minutes of the movie sum up the entire Veronica Mars series so newbies can try to keep up. It even shows screenshots from the original show that ended 7 years ago. Fans are LOVING the movie. Snarky Veronica (the talented Kristen Bell who no one knew could sing so beautifully until Frozen came out) is soon to graduate from Stanford law school and begin a “grown up lawyering job”, creating a new life after leaving Neptune, California. Veronica’s ex-boyfriend, Logan (Jason Dohring), is now an officer and a gentleman, but in a heap of trouble, drawing Neptune’s “very own Angela Lansbury” back to her home town to help him solve a crime. Upon seeing him in uniform, Veronica tells him “You should only wear this. Ever.” Later he sees her dressed in her old high school attire and says the same to her. Fans will love this movie. Those being introduced to the characters for the first time will catch on quickly and enjoy the “who dunnit.” Uplifting theme: Keep a taser in your purse. (wink) Sometimes we leave to find ourselves, only to realize we were in the right place all along. Things I liked: Kudos to Kristen Bell for being featured in two movies in only a few months. Tina Majorino’s new grown-up do looks good on her. I wish I could spit out clever one-liners as fast as everyone in the movie. Things I didn’t like: That’s pretty convenient that the murder happens around Veronica’s 10 year high school reunion so we can see the old gang again. About attending the event, Veronica moaned “I circled that date in my calendar ten years ago and vowed to skip it.” Interestingly enough, everyone wore black at my ten year reunion too. I think the whole evolution of high school reunions is fascinating. I missed my 5 year reunion and heard that everyone just got drunk and trashed the hotel. At my 10 year reunion, some of the social lines began to blur and everyone was trying to prove to everyone else that they were successful. At my 20th reunion, everyone talked with everyone and began really opening up, sharing their failures and lessons learned in life. At my 25th reunion, it was a big love-fest and celebration of life with everyone hugging and kissing a lot. I hate to admit I’m getting this old, but at my last reunion (30 years), everyone got drunk and trashed the hotel again. Ha ha I knew for certain that I was missing out on some inside fan jokes since I had only seen a few episodes of the original TV series on UPN years ago. Who dates a guy named Piz? Things to look for: Logan’s beach house ON the beach rocks. Movie reference to The Accused in the bar scene on Karaoke night. Perez Hilton web site The Jean Genie clip with James Franco. James Franco is the new Kevin Bacon; we’re all only 6 people away from him. It was fun to see Eden Sher taking a break from her role as Sue Heck, the geeky teenager with braces on the TV sitcom The Middle. In Veronica Mars, she plays James Franco’s assistant Keep watching after the credit rolls for more footage of James Franco trying to put on jeans…but wait, there’s even more at the very end. Funny lines: “New me? People say I’m a marshmallow.” – Veronica When being stopped by the local police, Veronica’s dad explains: “It’s the Neptune way…protecting and serving the highest bidder.” “Wow. Two beers? That’s how long it takes for you to get surely?” - Veronica talking to black friend “Stay out of the brownies, unless you want to go on a long, strange trip.” – Dick The attorney says “A little free advice: murder suspect should avoid proximity to narcotics.” Dick says “Medicine Man, I got my card…chronic depression. You wouldn’t think, huh? Mmmm…I can feel my self worth coming back right now.” The attorney says “Facts are important. Yes, but lucky for us, they’re not the end-all, be all.” Classic attorney, right? “What do you expect? They’re Canadians.” – Logan “It’s a one-time deal. A farewell tour, if you will. Then again, did you ever hear the one about the junkie who was satisfied with just one more taste of the good stuff? Neither have I.” – Veronica “What’s the largest capacity memory stick we own?” asks Veronica. Her dad quips “Aw, you wrote that on my first Father’s Day card. “Deputy Sacks, kudos for rocking the stash til it came back in style” snarks Veronica to a 70’s looking cop in Neptune.” “I really don’t think you should trust her. She seems kind of skeezy.” – Andrea Estella “As it turns out, I am too legit to quit.” - Veronica “I appreciate you keeping it PG-13 for me.” – Logan “Come back to me.” “Always.” - (No spoiler alert) Fans will appreciate this scene in a deeper way than newbies. Tips for parents: Talk & clip of a sex tape, profanity, 1 F-bomb, murder, shootings, inappropriate sex talk.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byJflores14 March 22, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Lots of potential, but lacks heart and cuss free dialogue

This interesting tv based drama picks up years after the tv show as veronica is starting her new "crime solving" free life. While the mysterious plot is quite thrilling and interesting there was lots of moderate profanity throughout and some sexual sequences. There were MANY USES OF: pr**k, bit*h, hell, damn, piss, crap, sh*t, effing, d**k, and even a single use of f**k off. Clips of an explicit sex tape is shown numerous times for laughs. Also veronica is quite sexually active and she is shown and suggested to be in bed with many men making out and in bed. A man also uses a woman for her "lady parts". Veronica and her father make many off color jokes about male organs(quite rude and shocking). Overall this film was mainly just a comic(while mainly rude) film about love, life, and a woman's true calling to solve crimes.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah March 15, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Pleasing for fans and newcomers.

I've never seen a single second of the TV show, so my decision to see this was solely based on the reviews. And thank God I did, because this is actually great. This is very inviting to first-time viewers, seamlessly blending great performances, fun screen chemistry, some self-referential humor, an intriguing (albeit sometimes a bit far-fetched) story, and thrills that are legitimately thrilling thrills. From a movie perspective, it starts off a bit rocky, but it finds its legs quick enough and makes you have fun regardless of your familiarity with the source material. Kristen Bell is such a pleasure to watch: she's funny, charming, and badass, and there are some randomly hilarious cameos. The direction is swift and judging from the shrieking from fans in the theater, this very much kept the spirit of the television series. (This was directed by the creator of the show.) I can now totally see why people love the show with a passion, and I would be totally open to watching it all, and I do hope that they make another movie. 8.1/10, great, above average, one thumb up, etc.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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