Monday, June 17, 2019

Review: "Murder Mystery" is a somewhat funny Aniston/Sandler romp, but ultimately predictable

Murder Mystery Review
The long Adam Sandler experiment on Netflix has shaken out just as you'd expect. There are lots of silly comedies starring Sandler that have filled up on the streaming service. Some have been good, most have been forgettable, which is a nice way of summing up Sandler late in his career. What's extra interesting is when he teams up with Jennifer Aniston. So far, including the new Netflix film "Murder Mystery," all three films of theirs have been the same. There is lying and deceit, there are exotic locations, and ultimately love wins. Certainly some nice messages, but I am left wondering when they'll decide to think outside the box.

In "Murder Mystery," Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston play Nick and Audrey Spitz. He's a cop who is struggling to become detective and she's a hairdresser who is addicted to murder mystery books. They are the type of couple who had many dreams and things they wanted to do as a couple, but they just never got there. Time got away from them, and Nick didn't move up the latter as fast as he thought he would. As the film opens, Nick has once again not got detective and he's running out of courage to tell his wife. Nick promised a long time ago that he'd take Audrey to Europe, and Audrey is starting to think they'll never go. As a way to dodge telling Audrey the truth, he takes her on the much anticipated Europe trip.

While on the plane to Europe, completely by chance. Audrey strikes up a conversation with Charles Cavandesh (Luke Evans) an uber-rich guy who was off to a family meeting, and on a whim invites Audrey and Nick to a party on his family yacht. When they think their original plans are too boring, they reluctantly agree. They meet actress Grace Ballard (Gemma Arterton), billionaire Malcolm Quince (Terrance Stamp), his son Tobias (David Williams), his girlfriend he stole from Charles (Shiori Kutsuna), a race car driver (Luis Geraldo Mendez) and a colonel (John Kani). The meeting is about who will get the Quince family fortune, which he ends up giving to the girlfriend. Before he can sign the will, the lights go out, and he is killed. 

This is a movie where everybody at the party has a motive to want the Quince fortune. For a little while, it feels like Agatha Christie on a boat. After a few more bodies pile up, the main suspects are the Spitz's, who have to try and clear their names. Audrey tries to help using her mystery book obsession, and Nick tries to use his detective skills he knows he has. Of course, his lie will come to light. Of course the couple will help each other figure out the case. Of course, they will use the skills they have to figure out the murder.

What's even less surprising is that the mystery is pretty straightforward. You'd think for the amount of time spent developing Audrey's obsession with mystery novels, that the movie would have a trick or two up its sleeve. Well, don't make me laugh, the mystery in this movie is about as basic as it gets and very little is surprising. Sandler and Aniston are Sandler and Aniston, they have both developed two movie star personas that they use well. I'll admit there were a couple times when Sandler really cracked me up, still he's been funnier in the past. Luke Evans looks built to play a smuggish aristocrat and there really wasn't anything surprising about his performance.

If you want a good Netflix original with Sandler, check out "The Week Of." Its a funny movie, but its got real heart and soul in it too. It seems when Sandler and Aniston team up, they go through the motions. "Murder Mystery" is nice fluff, but fluff nonetheless.


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