Murder Mystery 2
March 31st, 2023
MOVIE: MURDER MYSTERY 2
STARRING: ADAM SANDLER, JENNIFER ANISTON, MARK STRONG, MELANIE LAURENT
DIRECTED BY: JEREMY GARELICK
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The number of sequels that Adam Sandler has made have been regulated to the Grown Ups movies and his work on the animated Hotel Transylvania series. There are safety precautions that come with making sequels in comedy but if it involves his buddies or animation, those ones seem pretty safe. Those guardrails are the reason why Murder Mystery 2 is a surprise to see, not only because it’s a sequel to the relatively successful first installment, but because it’s actually better than its predecessor. It boils down to Sandler and Jennifer Anitston having a blast. This is a quick and often hilarious slice of crime solving hijinx. Murder Mystery 2 is a comedy whodunit that solves the case of how to make a sequel better the second time around.
Sandler and Aniston are once again playing husband Nick and wife Audrey Spitz. The two of them began their own private investigators business, but have not always been as successful as they would like. It also puts their relationship in a rut so they jump at the invitation from friend Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar) for his Caribbean destination marriage to Claudette (Melanie Laurent). During the ceremony a body guard is murdered and Maharajah kidnapped. Of course with a wedding comes a collection of potential suspects- the Countess Skeou (Jodie Turner-Smith), Maharajah’s sister Saira (Kunoo Verma), and even a guru hostage negotiator named Miller (Mark Strong- doing his man of mystery thing). All of this becomes an opportunity for Nick and Audrey to show they are not just pretending, but legitimately looking to rescue their kidnapped friend. Easier said than done.
Truth be told, I remembered absolutely nothing about the first Murder Mystery, a movie that was capitalizing on the Knives Out craze. Director Jeremy Garelick may not be making the second installment insurmountably more memorable but it does have great chemistry with his stars. There is a Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn-type connection between Sandler and Aniston. Their goofy approach to their age includes Sandler eating a full brick of cheese, Aniston confident in her ability to solve the crime, and the two of them bickering before they take down a guy trying to threaten them with a gun. It helps that the writing is sharp from James Vanderbilt and the pace moves lighting fast. Nobody said solving a mystery was supposed to be slow.
There is also a pleasant feeling to watch a comedy with grown ups that is genuinely funny- especially with Sandler in the driver’s seat. The Uncut Gems actor has leaned into his dramatic work with Hustle and The Meyerowitz Stories, but maybe time away from comedy has helped him understand that his brand can still be a great laugh. Yes, his film still jet sets to places like Paris but it’s not a free trip for his friends looking for a job. His only pal is Aniston, who also works great here, playing things relatively straight, and going back to that seamless charm she had on Friends.
Ultimately, Murder Mystery 2 is an easy viewing comedy. Not blowing us away with groundbreaking comedy but giving Netflix viewers a fun escape. Similar to Shotgun Wedding, or the comedic beats of Glass Onion, movies can still have a place for grownups to laugh. There is enough here for us to ask for a Murder Mystery 3. The mystery will be if they can keep being this funny.
MURDER MYSTERY 2 IS PLAYING ON NETFLIX FRIDAY MARCH 31ST, 2023.
Written by: Leo Brady