The sequel to one of the most-watched Netflix Originals, Murder Mystery 2, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch?
After signing mega-deal after mega-deal with the streamer, Adam Sandler seems to be the gift that keeps on giving for Netflix.
While many of his Happy Madison-produced comedies during his last two deals have been some of the most critically panned of his career, he has brought consistent projects year after year for their subscribers.
In 2019, Sandler had his biggest Netflix hit yet with Murder Mystery, a comedic attempt at an Agatha Christie-style whodunnit starring himself and his Just Go With It co-star Jennifer Aniston. The film successfully managed to attract a whopping 83 million households, which all but guaranteed a sequel opportunity for Sandler & company.
Filmed on location in the U.S. island state of Hawaii & the famous French city of Paris, Murder Mystery 2 brings back Sandler & Aniston as married couple Nick & Audrey Spitz, who started up their own private investigation company after the high profile events of the first film.
Having difficulties getting their new business off the ground, they jump at the opportunity to go to a private island destination wedding for the Maharaja Vikram (Adeel Akhtar), whom they met in the first film.
Placing them once again in a fish-out-of-water scenario with a wealthy, dysfunctional family, the Spitz’s are witnesses to the kidnapping of their friend after his bodyguard is found stabbed. Just like the first film, Nick & Audrey attempt to help with the investigation until the blame shifts back on them. They must find the true culprits in order to clear their names and save their friend.
While a lot of that description sounds like a slight remix of the plot for the original film, Murder Mystery 2 is almost the opposite of the first film in many ways.
Directed by Kyle Newacheck (Game Over, Man), the original was more of an homage to a classic whodunnit structure centering around the stereotypical eccentric British family of great wealth killing its patriarch over the new details of his will.
The new film seems to care less about the who and why, and more about the ride itself. With an increased amount of humor and action set pieces, the sequel seems more akin to a buddy cop movie than a clue-chasing puzzle to solve.
After the first film fell into the dreaded zone of taking itself too seriously for a comedy and too comedic to be taken seriously, this film seems to know exactly what it is for better or for worse. It knows that the audience is here to see Sandler and Aniston bring their brand of veteran comedic banter and be entertained above all else, which the film succeeds at more often than not.
However, that does not make this movie that much better than the original if at all. The first film does a better job at slowing the pace to establish motives and develop a few of its characters. This film doesn’t develop anyone in service of fun and spectacle. Both are very much imperfect presentations that seem to be average, watered-down versions of the genres in which they choose to play.
For a movie about a kidnapping, the film doesn’t even bother to tie together its co-conspirators. Never at any point did I care about who performed the kidnapping or who got the ransom money. Frankly, I didn’t even care if anyone in particular survived from this particular cast of characters, which sadly wastes the talents of the likes of Melanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds), Mark Strong (Kingsman films), and others. We all just want to see what Sandler and Aniston will do and the film leans into that whenever possible.
At its best, we get to see our dynamic duo fight with masked assailants inside a van during a police chase or make one-liners about missing limbs and eating too much cheese. It’s so tightly edited and full of comedic punch-ups that the glaring flaws of its plot and character development don’t seem terribly apparent until its ultimate conclusion.
Overall, Murder Mystery 2 proves once again that Sandler and Aniston have solid, well-established chemistry that can give their fans a certain level of satisfaction that they’ve come to expect. However, when it comes to Happy Madison-produced Netflix Original comedies, we’ve also lowered the bar for quality so low that an average film with a script full of flaws is what constitutes a success.
Watch Murder Mystery 2 on Netflix if you like:
- Murder Mystery
- Just Go With It
- The Bounty Hunter
- We’re The Millers
- The Do-Over
MVP of Murder Mystery 2
Jennifer Aniston as Audrey Spitz.
With a little more depth of character and a few passing moments of actually investigating work, Aniston seems like she drew the big straw between her and Sandler’s less-than-stellar cop routine. As the clear leader with a stronger fascination for the process, Aniston’s Audrey gives a little more legitimacy while giving us the same humor, charm, and beauty Aniston’s audience has enjoyed these many years.
PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP?
With just enough action, a quick pace, and a short runtime, this one will satisfy the fans of the original film and its veteran leads. Just don’t mistake that for high quality.