The star power of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston combine once again to bring us a sequel to a decently enjoyable Netflix murder mystery. Murder Mystery 2 sees Nick and Audrey caught in the middle of a murder-kidnapping situation where it’s up to them to find the culprit.
As much as the first film was fine, I didn’t have high expectations for this entry. At best I hoped for a silly, enjoyable ride that had enough funny moments to get me through to the end. Unfortunately, this is a painfully uninspired sequel that drops the ball when it comes to its barebones, uninteresting narrative and lacklustre comedy. The story itself is nothing you haven’t seen before – it follows a straightforward cookie-cutter plot with a hint of mystery to try and keep you engaged. At first I found myself trying to deduce ‘whodunnit’, but as time went on and the whole mystery angle got too convoluted, I realised I didn’t really care. It weaves in the occasional twist, turn and misdirect, but none of it is shocking enough to garner any sort of reaction. It’s never a good sign when your film drops some substantial reveals and your first reaction is “sure”, and that’s exactly what was happening throughout.
Comedy-wise, the film does have its moments. There’s some fun little gags that benefit from the comedic timing and chemistry of Sandler and Aniston, but they’re few and far between. Aside from a handful of funny one-liners that hit in the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, I can’t recall laughing at much else. Outside of those early moments, the second and third acts are one big blur. As time goes on, it just gets more and more messy and less and less funny. The style of humour is silly by design, but theres a thin line that once you cross it into the ‘too silly’ zone, there’s no coming back. In the words of Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc – it’s not so dumb that it’s brilliant, “it’s just dumb“.
The occasional action sequence and high speed chase does its best to amp up the entertainment factor, but it’s not enough. The sequences themselves are fine, but by the point they hit I was just cruising on to the finish line. The only real draw of the film, and the reason it happened in the first place, is the appeal of seeing Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston interact. Something about the two of them just works – their banter feels very natural and it makes for the film’s only real highlights. The rest of the cast is fine, but even with Mark Strong and Mélanie Laurent, there’s nothing to write home about.
In the end, I wish I had more to say about Murder Mystery 2, but I don’t. It doesn’t do anything criminally unforgivable, so it’s not the worst film out there. The story isn’t horrible, it’s just uninspired and flat. The comedy isn’t a total disaster, it’s just a bit too dumb and contrived. I may not have enjoyed the vast majority of what I saw, but I can’t take away from the fact that its leads have great chemistry and comedic timing that leads to a solid first act. Fans of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston may still get some enjoyment out of this film as it serves its purpose as a casual Netflix watch – it’s just not one I’d ever want to see again. The best part – if you’re not liking it, it’s under 90 minutes… so you won’t be trapped for long.