REVIEW: “Murder Mystery”

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One of the greatest compliments I can give “Murder Mystery” is that it is considerably more tolerable than most of the dreck Adam Sandler churns out. That may not sound flattering (and to be honest it isn’t), but when you’ve grown accustomed to Sandler films being insufferable slogs, ‘tolerable’ is a pretty big step in the right direction.

Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean “Murder Mystery” is a good movie. It features many of the same problems that plague most of Sandler’s stuff. It just happens to be slightly less offensive to your intelligence and ever so slightly amusing (on occasions) – just enough to keep you with it until the end.

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Sandler plays Nick Spitz, a New York police officer who can’t pass his detective exam. Jennifer Aniston plays his wife Audrey, a hairdresser who after 15 years is still waiting on her husband to fulfill his promise of a honeymoon in Europe. On their anniversary Nick surprises Audrey (not by choice) by telling her he has booked their long-awaited trip.

You have to be impressed with Sandler’s ability to get together with a bunch of friends, travel to beautiful locations, and have production companies pay for the whole thing all under the guise of making a movie. Here Italy is the vacation spot…errr shooting location of choice. On their flight Nick and Audrey meet Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans), a suave and debonair aristocrat who invites them to join him on his family’s yacht to celebrate his billionaire uncle’s upcoming wedding.

But what starts as hobnobbing with the rich and famous turns into a Eurotrip filled with (you guessed it) murder, betrayal, and an assortment of the prime suspects – the fiance, a jealous son, a scorned lover, a movie star, a Maharajah, a race car driver, a military Colonel and his Russian bodyguard. Shenanigans ensue and in classic whodunnit style the possible killers are mysteriously killed off one-by-one. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s the Spitzes who find themselves being framed for the murders.

“Murder Mystery” doesn’t have a lot to offer but at least the cast is having a good time. The row of suspects featuring Evans, Gemma Arterton, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Adeel Akhtar, Shiori Kutsuna, John Kani, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson seem to be enjoying themselves. And something can be said for the natural and seemingly effortless chemistry between Sandler and Aniston.

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Unfortunately the fun they’re having doesn’t exactly carry over to us. The screenplay was written by James Vanderbilt, the same guy who wrote 2007’s fantastic “Zodiac”. He and director Kyle Newacheck wisely keep things moving at a quick and snappy pace. It’s a good idea because if you slow down and give the story too much thought, it’s pretty easy to check out of it.

While “Murder Mystery” is a decent step up from what Adam Sandler has become known for, it still falls short of being what could be called a genuinely funny movie. It’s not fresh enough to be called original and not smart enough to be called a parody. It’s the kind of movie that you don’t necessarily have to labor through, but it will be completely forgotten by the end of the day.

VERDICT – 2 STARS

2-stars

14 thoughts on “REVIEW: “Murder Mystery”

  1. I haven’t seen Adam Sandler movie in years so this one I quite enjoyed, as infuriating as it is that Netflix is using people’s money to fund these actors’ vacation while pretending that primary focus was making a movie 😀

      • It’s just I heard his Netflix stuff is really bad and Netflix’s stuff is usually bad as it is, so in my mind whatever it is he made for them must be really horrific 😀

  2. Yeah I don’t have much to say really but I would give Sandler a solid 9 out of 10 for keeping good friends employed and bringing them to beautiful locations . I wonder , how do I become a good friend LOL

  3. I have no plans to see it and I never will. Fuck Adam Sandler. BTW, how many product placements did the film have and is it brought to you by this product or that product?

    • It’s funny, I don’t remember product placement being as big of a deal in this one as it has in the past. That is certainly something he has leaned on many times before. But you have me wondering if I missed some things. It’s not a movie that really keeps you glued to the screen.

      • Part of the reason I stopped watching his movies is because of the product placements. When you watch a film, you wanted to be entertained. Not deal with commercials for this and that. That’s not entertaining at all. That’s capitalist propaganda.

      • It doesn’t bother me a ton but I do roll my eyes at it and see it as a cheap and lazy way to make money. It’s ridiculous.

  4. Shame that this turned out to be another dud. Adam Sandler hasn’t been doing well, but I’d say there have been a few triumphs in his more serious roles (The Meyerowitz Stories, Funny People). Still appreciate the guy for his older works, especially his comedy CDs!

    • It’s not very good, but I will say it’s easily watchable. It’s not as hideous as something like The Ridiculous 6 or Grown-Ups. You’re right, he can do good work. But I find these get-away movies he does with his buddies to be pretty insufferable.

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