Tag Archives: Kristen Bell

Veronica Mars (2014, Rob Thomas)

Rob Thomas loves the "Veronica Mars" television show fans. He must. He pretty much wastes the first act of the feature film (also titled Veronica Mars) thanking them for funding the film's production through Kickstarter. It's worse for star Kristen Bell than the film–both recover, but the film first–as the script's moving her around like a marionette. She doesn't get to do anything for way too long. Instead, she's an entirely passive, narrating protagonist.

Luckily, a lot of Thomas's fan service is amusing. So it allows Mars to coast–something Thomas's direction unfortunately can't do (he's mediocre until the second half)–and the acting is mostly strong. Even when the characters are just there to take up running time.

But coasting isn't enough; Thomas seems to know it because he brings erstwhile leading man (and don in distress) Jason Dohring. The script gives Dohring all the drama and all the layers it doesn't give Bell. Dohring excels. It's in his scenes where Bell starts getting better.

And then, all of a sudden, Mars sheds the dead leaves and starts growing organically. The film still calls back to elements from the show, but Thomas and co-writer Diane Ruggiero give Bell a role to act. They finally let her engage with the story instead of just visiting old friends. Problem solved.

Fine supporting turns from Enrico Colantoni, Ryan Hanson and Gaby Hoffmann. Tina Majorino looks completely lost.

Mars succeeds–almost everything with Bell opposite Dohring or Colantoni is spectacular stuff. It's just rough going at the start.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Rob Thomas; screenplay by Thomas and Diane Ruggiero, based on a story by Thomas; director of photography, Ben Kutchins; edited by Daniel Gabbe; music by Josh Kramon; production designer, Jeff Schoen; produced by Thomas, Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Krysten Ritter (Gia Goodman), Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas), Francis Capra (Eli ‘Weevil’ Navarro), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), Gaby Hoffmann (Ruby Jetson), Chris Lowell (Stosh ‘Piz’ Piznarski), Tina Majorino (Cindy ‘Mac’ Mackenzie), Jerry O’Connell (Sheriff Dan Lamb), Martin Starr (Lou ‘Cobb’ Cobbler), Ken Marino (Vinnie Van Lowe), Max Greenfield (Leo D’Amato), Eddie Jemison (JC Borden), Jamie Lee Curtis (Gayle Buckley) and Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars).


RELATED

Advertisements

Get Him to the Greek (2010, Nicholas Stoller)

From Nicholas Stoller’s writing credits, I wouldn’t have thought him capable of such a funny movie. I hadn’t realized he’d directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Get Him to the Greek is a spin-off more than a sequel (though Kristen Bell shows up for a cameo). Stoller’s third act problems–when Greek becomes painfully unfunny and life affirming–aside, it’s almost the funniest movie in years.

Stoller does luck out to some degree, given his two leads. In one lead, he’s got Jonah Hill, who plays the Jonah Hill persona (Superbad grown up with girlfriend) and whose quiet delivery is perfect. The other lead, the absurdly extroverted Russell Brand, has a perfect loud delivery. Brand infuses his drug-addled rock star with these occasional moments of sarcastic clarity, which really adds to the experience.

Both Hill and Brand stumble through Stoller’s anti-drug message at the end, however. And while Stoller recovers the ending, he doesn’t resolve lots of issues he raises after turning it into a friendship drama.

For the majority of the running time, Greek‘s the funniest human comedy in a long time. Brand’s character is great for allowing absurd situations firmly set in reality. It never feels artificial… even with Sean Combs showing up.

Combs is hilarious in the film but gives one of the worst acting performances I’ve ever seen.

The rest of the cast–Rose Byrne (until the dramatics) and Colm Meaney in particular–are great.

It’s good. It should have been a lot better though.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Nicholas Stoller; screenplay by Stoller, based on characters created by Jason Segel; director of photography, Robert D. Yeoman; edited by William Kerr and Michael L. Sale; music by Lyle Workman; production designer, Jan Roelfs; produced by Stoller, Judd Apatow, David L. Bushell and Rodney Rothman; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Jonah Hill (Aaron Green), Russell Brand (Aldous Snow), Elisabeth Moss (Daphne Binks), Rose Byrne (Jackie Q), Colm Meaney (Jonathon Snow) and Sean Combs (Sergio Roma).


RELATED