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Veronica Mars

7/10

Stars: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Krysten Ritter, Ryan Hansen, Francis Capra, Percy Daggs III, Gaby Hoffmann, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino, Jerry O’Connell, Martin Starr, Jamie Lee Curtis, Enrico Colantoni, Ken Marino, Max Greenfield, Eddie Jemison

Director: Rob Thomas

In Britain, moviemakers seeking finance for niche films like Under the Skin or needing to raise the money to make patently minor movies that would otherwise understandably find it tough qualify for such productions in their own right, have it really easy compared with Hollywood producers.

Here moviemakers have it a lot easier.

The British Film Institute is now responsible for splashing out the public’s “Lottery funds to support film development, production and distribution in the UK”: the lottery has helped to pay for such cinematic gems as Steve McQueen art-porn film Shame and Thunderpants.

And then thereÂ’s the BBC who, financed by the public whether they like it or not, relishes in donating licence-payersÂ’ cash for genuinely fine films but also for wasting viewersÂ’ cash on less than impressive offerings as Confetti, Opal Dream and In the Dark Half.

Hollywood moviemakers are less fortunate.

In order to make this unpretentious reboot of the US TV series which ran from 2004 to 2007, the producers were unable to milk broadcasters and/or lotteries.

Instead, funding for the film came from ‘Veronica Mars’ aficionados who responded to a crowdfunding ‘Kickstarter’ online page put together by TV series creator Rob Thomas.

Result? “The Veronica Mars movie funding… would set records for the site: most backers, fastest project to reach both $1 million and $2 million … and the largest successful film project”.

The film, scripted, with Diane Ruggiero by producer Thomas from his own story, finds former TV amateur teenage private eye Kristen Bell, is now a newly qualified lawyer about to accept a prestigious job with Jamie Lee CurtisÂ’ law firm, heading back to her corrupt home town of Neptune, California to return to sleuthing to clear her former boyfriend Jason Dohring of a murder chargeÂ…

Thomas unfolds the incident-filled mystery at a fast pace, Bell brings her character up to date without losing her charm or occasional snarkiness and the screenplay is peppered with smart wisecracks including “Cute gets you only so far in life” which deserves to become a motto for aspirant actresses.

Its greatest achievement, perhaps, is that you donÂ’t need to have seen the original TV series to enjoy the movieÂ’s happily unpretentious entertainment.

In fact, put me down for $10 for the sequel.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour (unspecified).
107 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 14 Mar 2014