Murder Mystery 2 Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
The Sandler sequel to the mediocre “whodunit” spoof of 2019, tops it with a bigger ridiculous story, gags that aren’t funny & more stupidity.
Genre: Action / Comedy / Mystery
Director: Jeremy Garelick
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mélanie Laurent, Adeel Akhtar, Mark Strong, John Kani, Jodie Turner-Smith, Kuhoo Verma, Enrique Arce & Dany Boon.
Run Time: 89 min.
US Release: 31 March 2023 (Netflix)
UK Release: 31 March 2023 (Netflix)
German Release: 31 March 2023 (Netflix)
As I mentioned several times before, I am a big Adam Sandler fan, but even I need to confess that most of his self-produced comedies are mostly miss rather than hits. In 2019, Sandler delighted us with a mediocre yet entertaining murder mystery spoof on Netflix, in which a married couple stumbles upon the murder of an elderly billionaire during their holiday. Four years later, Sandler bestows us with a follow-up on the streaming server. As expected, it is a far inferior product, dragging the premise through a ridiculous plot. So, let’s analyse my review of Netflix’s Murder Mystery 2…
Married couple plus full-time detectives Audrey and Nick are struggling to get their private-eye agency off the ground. When their friend Maharaja invites them to his wedding, they take some time off, ending up at the centre of an international abduction.
The first Murder Mystery was a surprise success for the streaming platform, with over thirty-million households tuning in the first three weeks. Netflix decided in the same year to begin development on a sequel, starting negotiations with Happy Madison Productions. What is not understandable, is the high salaries that have been paid to the two leading actors, given the financial troubles the streaming service has.
The screenplay doubles down on the spoof, the absurdity, action and the screwball comedy, though, in exchange for quality. Not that the first flick was ever any good, but at least it had mild entertainment while staying somewhat grounded. Here, the Spitzes stumble from one unfunny sketch to the next, which felt highly uninspired. Generally, the movie seems more like a stitched-up gag reel. The plot cannibalises the previously told story, with the exception that instead of needing to solve a murder, the couple needs to find their kidnapped friend.
That is not to say that Murder Mystery 2 is not amusing. It does contain a couple of funny ideas that made me smirk, yet it never got me fully laughing. The runtime is just short of ninety minutes, helping to keep a steadily flowing pace. It never drags, there is always something happening on screen, however, it is all extremely dumb.
The dialogue can be at times surprisingly raunchy for a PG-13, though most of the time metaphors cover up a lot of the actual meaning. A lot of the puns are focused on the topic of flatulence or poop, such as a diaper joke at the beginning.
Character-wise, a few cast members are returning, making this more of a reunion. For instance, Adeel Akhtar returns in a limited role as the Maharajah. Akhtar gives the same, whacky wanna-be gangster performance as in the predecessor.
Let’s move on to the main cast; Adam Sandler returns as Nick Spitz, a character derivative of many roles the comedian played in the past. Sandler proved several times in his career that he could give a specific persona enough depth. One of the recent examples is last year’s Hustle! Unfortunately, he always falls back on playing these one-dimensional, uncultured stereotypes that have no edge or relatability. In the end, Nick comes off as an ignorant buffoon, who has not grown since his last adventure.
Jeniffer Aniston also came back to play Nick’s wife Audrey Spitz. Her performance mimics that of her co-star a little, not giving her character enough profoundness to care for. Audrey made a change in career since we saw her last, having opened up a detective agency with her husband. The struggling business strains their marriage a little, putting both at odds a few times. Sadly those problems are never truly explored, playing them off as jokes. That said, both seem to have had a lot of fun while shooting.
The new characters are expendable, their personalities having been described mostly in one line of dialogue. The superficiality of the supporting cast hinders any emotional investment. As such, renditions by Mélanie Laurent, Jodie Turner-Smith or even Mark Strong are completely squandered.
The cinematography is probably the most stable aspect of this comedy. Framing, angles, as well as shot compositions, are all on par. There are a few engaging action sequences inside a van, but other than that, the camera work offers little-to-no surprises. The lighting is adequate, shadows are well utilised and the colours are rich, without being oversaturated. In short, it looks pretty standard.
Same can’t be said about the special effects used. The computer-generated imagery distracts easily, looking rather cheap. The costume design varies, implementing traditional Indian garments, a more leger tracksuit look, or even over-the-top costumes that include red chequered trench coats and fake fur coats.
Rupert Gregson-Williams returned as composer, creating a soundtrack that complimented the plot, without sounding overblown.
Verdict: This comedic follow-up to the ‘whodunit’ screwball of 2019, was an unnecessary waste of money. The narrative is not memorable at all, the script is a half-witted attempt at recreating the first flick, cranking up the ludicrous premise to such an extreme that it becomes absolutely brainless. Does it entertain? Sure it has its moments, however, you can be doing something else on the side, without missing anything important. The dialogue is trash, with the humour being hit-or-miss. Adam Sandler returns to portray the same character he always plays in his Happy Madison productions. Jeniffer Aniston is equally one-dimensional, while the supporting cast is disposable. The CGI might look cheap, yet the pacing is swift, the camera work is solid, and the music humble. Murder Mystery 2 is cheap enjoyment, which is easily forgotten. The few positives do not make it worth watching. It’s a 4.0 out of 10.
So, have you seen this new Netflix release? What did you think? Agree with my review? Leave a comment in the section below & thank you for reading!