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Sandler and Aniston Are Back on the Case in the Fun and Breezy Murder Mystery 2

Photo credit: Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2023.

In the first Murder Mystery, police officer Nick and hairdresser Audrey Spitz (Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston), a seemingly normal couple from New York, end up solving the murder of a wealthy billionaire while on an Italian vacation. Murder Mystery 2 takes place four years after these events and finds Nick and Audrey have quit their day jobs and have become full-time detectives. Despite their want to be world-renowned detectives, they are struggling to get their business off the ground, which has put a strain on their personal lives and their marriage.

Following another failed investigation, a stressed Nick and Audrey get a call from The Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), their new friend and one of the people they saved during their investigation in Italy. The Maharajah invites them to his wedding, which takes Nick and Audrey to The Maharajah’s new private island. During the extravagant ceremony, The Maharajah is kidnapped and his top security officer is murdered. With a handful of suspects and a slew of motives, Nick and Audrey try and solve their biggest case to date to save their friend.

Murder Mystery 2 isn’t so much a murder mystery as it is a kidnapping mystery, though there are several murders and deaths throughout the film, some of which are pretty brutal for a PG-13 comedy. Director Jeremy Garelick and screenwriter James Vanderbilt still do a solid job of introducing the characters and their motives. There’s Claudette (Mélanie Laurent), The Maharajah’s fiancé who will be dealing with a tough prenup if she marries him; Francisco (Enrique Arce), a business partner of The Maharaja’s that has a slew of paternity suits; Countess Sekou (Jodie Turner-Smith), a former lover; Saira (Kuhoo Verma), The Maharajah’s jealous and more business-centric sister; Colonel Ulenga (John Kani), The Maharajah’s former head of security who lost an arm in the line of defense; and Miller (Mark Strong), the head of the security forces assigned to the case. Nick and Audrey are also being framed for the crime by the kidnapper, though their innocence is never in doubt. 

(Left to Right) Zurin Villanueva as Imani, Jodi Turner-Smith as Countess Sekou, Jennifer Aniston as Audrey Spitz, Mark Strong as Miller, Adam Sandler as Nick Spitz, and Enrique Arce as Francisco in Murder Mystery 2 (Netflix)
(Left to Right) Zurin Villanueva as Imani, Jodi Turner-Smith as Countess Sekou, Jennifer Aniston as Audrey Spitz, Mark Strong as Miller, Adam Sandler as Nick Spitz, and Enrique Arce as Francisco in Murder Mystery 2. Photo credit: Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2023.

The introduction of each of these characters is done well and makes the overall mystery of the film intriguing, though it isn’t nearly as fun or interesting as the first Murder Mystery or the other Netflix whodunnit franchise, Knives Out. Murder Mystery 2 moves at a rapid pace and focuses most of its energy on Nick and Audrey’s journey as a couple and as detectives. The suspects are barely developed and when it is revealed who the kidnapper is, I didn’t have a, “oh wow!” or “whaaaaaat?” reaction. It was just a, “oh, okay” reaction. The Murder Mystery films are easy watches and I don’t expect them to be as crafty as Rian Johnson’s Knives Out films, but I was genuinely surprised by the reveal of the murderer in the first Murder Mystery.

Sandler and Aniston are wonderful as Nick and Audrey, This is their third film working together following Just Go With It and the first Murder Mystery and they have solidified that they are a strong team together. They have great chemistry with excellent back-and-forth banter while also portraying the struggling couple with ease and empathy. You are always rooting for Nick and Audrey to solve the case and are rooting for them to get their business and their marriage on track. Sandler also gives his most badass performance since You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. Nick does far more physical fighting in this film than in the previous one and though the fifty-six-year-old Sandler is known more for his relaxed personality, he shows that he can handle physical and action-centric scenes as well. Murder Mystery 2’s biggest surprise is not the reveal of who the kidnapper is, it’s that Adam Sandler is actually a decent action star.

A lot of Adam Sandler movies, especially in the latter part of his career, have suffered at times from their usage of immature humor. These films, like the Grown Ups films, Blended, or Pixels, used this childish humor either in excess or at ill-advised, random times that feel jarring while watching the film. But save for one very brief and forgettable instance, Murder Mystery 2 stays clear of all that immature humor and relies mostly on Sandler and Aniston’s comedic instincts and line delivery. Some of Sandler’s jokes are cringe-worthy and corny, but they’re the kind of jokes we’d expect from an uncool man in his fifties. Not letting the film get taken over by dick and fart jokes allows Murder Mystery 2 to stay on track and keeps our focus on the plot. 

The end of Murder Mystery 2 leaves the film open for another entry and I really hope that they make several more Murder Mystery movies. Sandler and Aniston are a winning pair and their portrayals of Nick and Audrey make them fun characters to watch. These are entertaining mysteries with extravagant sets, slick action, and constant humor.

Written by Kevin Wozniak

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