By Grace Anderson, Theatre and Film, 3rd Year
Four years ago, Nick (Adam Sandler) and Audrey (Jennifer Anniston) Spitz unintentionally got caught up in a murder investigation on a billionaire’s yacht. This year they returned to our screens, now with their own private detective agency. But with their first holiday resulting in 5 deaths, the promise of another ‘all expenses paid’ private island trip doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
The prologue leaves little room for suspense or uncertainty in the rest of the film; the only thing that could save the Spitz’s failing agency and marriage is the death of someone close to them… Cue a phone call from the Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), a familiar face returning for the sequel and a dear friend to Nick and Audrey, who invites them to his private island for his wedding.
The wedding rehearsal dinner is, however, hijacked by two kidnappers and instead of making his grand entrance riding in on an elephant, he is taken hostage. As in the first film, a random collection of people (in this case, an unusual selection of wedding guests) must unite over their shared connection to the crime.
Indeed, if you enjoyed Murder Mystery (2019) you will be pleased to know that its sequel follows an almost identical plot line which unfolds alongside melodramatic acting, ‘who dun it’ tropes and cringeworthy humour.
The setting is overly lavish to the point of being unbelievable and disengaging, with the only real elephant in the room being the low-budget green screen. Alongside this, moments of comedy always seemed to just miss the mark, often feeling overly scripted.
Aside from the highlight of the film, a chaotic car chase where Audrey goes from detective to axe murderer in a matter of seconds, the acting was also inevitably unconvincing – it is quite hard to watch Rachel from Friends (1994-2004) hanging off the Eiffel Tower with a straight face.
In the words of Sandler himself, ‘Don’t you want this to be the killer so they can kill us? I’m sick of this sh*t’. It seems even the actors just want to get the script over and done with.
I can understand that part of the film’s appeal may lie in the fact that this film never attempts to be something it is not. Murder Mystery 2 never sets out to tell a hyper-realistic, complex story with heart-wrenching deaths, and although it never quite hits the notes of a successfully ridiculous comedy either, perhaps it is the desire to categorise this film as a mystery drama that means it loses sight of where its charm really lies.
Ultimately, Murder Mystery 2 fell short of expectations. I was eager for Sandler and Anniston to redeem themselves and really tried to remain open-minded throughout. Patience and willingness only get you so far with this film, though as once it descends into chaos, there is, unfortunately, no return.
Although upbeat and amusing, we are spoon-fed an excessively formulaic ‘mystery’, 2D characters, and a confusing plot which follows the exact same structure as the first film.
I would only recommend it if you are looking for a mindless hungover watch or are desperate to waste an hour and a half of your time.
Featured image: by Netflix, courtesy of IMDB
Did this murder mystery leave you asking questions?