Murder Mystery 2 Review

Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston headline a bigger and better but still mediocre whodunit.

Plot: Now full-time detectives struggling to get their private eye agency off the ground, Nick and Audrey Spitz find themselves at the center of an international abduction when their friend the Maharaja is kidnapped at his own lavish wedding.

Review: There are two types of Adam Sandler movies: good ones and the ones he makes for Netflix. Since signing a massive deal with the streaming platform in 2014, Sandler has made eight films of varying quality, with all but two being lambasted by critics. Looked at by many as expensive vacations for Sandler and his friends, most of these comedies are nothing more than filler for Netflix to pad their library of original productions. When Murder Mystery premiered in 2019, the reunion of Jennifer Aniston and Sandler was a critical dud, but fans loved the blend of action and mystery. Now, Murder Mystery 2 draws from Rian Johnson’s Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion, in shifting the locale of the whodunit and changing the tone a bit. The result is a better movie than the original Murder Mystery but one that still cannot overcome an overall feeling of mediocrity.

Murder Mystery 2,Adam Sandler,Netflix,Jennifer Aniston

In the first Murder Mystery, Nick (Adam Sandler) and Audrey Spitz (Jennifer Aniston) were embroiled in a murder while traveling to Europe. Nick, an NYPD cop trying to become a detective, and Audrey, a hairdresser, became caught in a comedy of errors that led to multiple people dying as they tried to solve the murder of Malcolm Quince. Echoing Agatha Christie’s mysteries, the whodunit is eventually solved with plot twists and some action, but mostly with predictable writing and low-quality humor. What helped make the original movie work was the chemistry between Sandler and Aniston, who reunited after starring in 2011’s Just Go With It, who played a convincing couple who were in over their heads. Murder Mystery 2 finds the spouses heading their own struggling detective agency when their friend Vikram (Adeel Akhtar) invites them to his private island for his wedding. Needing a vacation, the pair fly and meet Claudette (Melanie Laurent) and a cast of supporting characters and suspects. When Vikram is kidnapped during the rehearsal dinner, Nick and Audrey become suspects and investigators until Miller (Mark Strong) arrives to take over the case.

Aside from bringing back Inspector Delacroix (Dany Boon) and Colonel Ulenga (John Kani) from the first film, Murder Mystery 2 introduces a new all-star cast, including Jodie Turner-Smith as Vikram’s ex, Countess Sekou, Enrique Arce as Francisco, head of Vikram’s company, and Kuhoo Verma as Saira, Vikram’s sister. Tony Goldwyn, Annie Mumulo, Jillian Bell, and Zurin Villanueva play some minor parts. Still, this core group becomes the suspects in the kidnapping and foils for the Spitz investigation. Many of the jokes from the first movie come back for repeated use, including Nick being a terrible shot, Audrey somehow solving situations by dumb luck, and Colonel Ulenga having a missing arm. The trailer showcases other jokes that come back for another use, including Nick sitting in the wrong car seat when he wants to drive. The overuse of these same jokes detracts from the movie itself, which improves in many areas over the first movie.

Being filmed after pandemic restrictions, Murder Mystery 2 makes great use of location shooting in Hawaii and Paris. Some more involved stunts utilize green screens, but the physical filming gives this movie a grander feel. The choreographed dance sequence early in the movie is fun, but the action sequences work best in this sequel. There are a couple of chase scenes that are well done and funnier than I expected, as well as a large-scale scene set on the Eiffel Tower that is impressive for a movie like this. Netflix usually doesn’t share the budgets on their films, but everything about Murder Mystery 2 has improvements ranging from the production values to the special effects work. That does not change the fact that this movie is still labeled as an Adam Sandler movie, but the funnyman is more restrained in this film than he is in some of the other comedies he has produced in recent years. Rather than funny voices and his trademark yell, Sandler and Aniston balance each other out as believable spouses who are also pretty bad detectives.

The improvements are not limited to the cast. Jeremy Garelick directs Murder Mystery 2, replacing Kyle Newacheck, who helmed the original. Garelick is best known for helming The Binge and Plan B, but he brings a solid eye for action directing, which helps this movie improve upon the original. It also helps that returning screenwriter James Vanderbilt (Scream VI, Zodiac) has also catered to this movie’s cast. The original Murder Mystery went through many iterations and stars, including Charlize Theron, Colin Firth, and directors John Madden and Anne Fletcher. With the actors adjusting to the script, the first film felt disjointed. The sequel benefits from Vanderbilt writing it specifically for Sandler and Aniston, which plays to their strengths. The movie suffers from not having any truly original twists or elements to set it apart from the dozens of other similar mystery projects out there. Where Rian Johnson played with the conventions of the genre in Glass Onion, Murder Mystery 2 sticks to the formula for better or worse.

Murder Mystery 2,Adam Sandler,Netflix,Jennifer Aniston

Shorter than its predecessor by ten minutes, Murder Mystery 2 is a brisk and fast-paced comedy that doesn’t overstay its welcome. At the same time, it doesn’t really do anything we have not seen countless times before. The reveal of the perpetrators of this movie’s central crime (which isn’t actually a murder) will likely be figured out by most audiences within the first half of the film. Murder Mystery 2 glides by on the effortless chemistry of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, who have a lot of fun in the improved sequel. There are funny moments that I actually laughed at and twice as many that made me groan. You could do a lot worse with ninety minutes than enjoying this movie, but you could also do a lot better. Fans of Sandler and Aniston will enjoy this movie which does not require you to have seen the original to enjoy it. Murder Mystery 2 is not remotely as bad as the first, but it still is not all that great.


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