Well, I did it. I managed to watch all the Firefly episodes before checking out the movie, with two hours to spare :)
I've got to say, with every episode I watched, I enjoyed the series more. The writing and character development is really well done, and it's pretty darned funny to boot. I can't believe they canceled it just as it was taking off. It was kind of the opposite of what Star Trek and Star Wars have been of late. Less tech, and much more fun. And this is from a guy who has a penchant for hard science fiction.
At any rate, I also enjoyed the film. I went with three others who hadn't seen Firefly, and they seemed to like it as well. I think it's quite a tough job to introduce this world and so many characters to an audience who may never have seen the series. Still the movie seems to do all this and more, with entertainment value that is missing in many other sci-fi films of late.
However, I actually think this whole concept works better as a TV series, rather than a series of movies. So, now I join the ranks who are hoping someone will bring back the TV show in some incarnation.