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“Murder Mystery 2” Review - Alibis, Lies, and Plenty of Dead Guys

Dir Jeremy Garlick - 2 Stars

Still of Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in "Murder Mystery 2."
Still of Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in "Murder Mystery 2." By Courtesy of Netflix
By Xander D. Patton, Crimson Staff Writer

Stumbling into the detective world isn’t as easy as these inexperienced amateurs expected it to be. Directed by Jeremy Garlick, “Murder Mystery 2” picks up the story of the Spitz family — Nick (Adam Sandler) and Audrey (Jennifer Aniston), husband and wife — right where the first film of the series left off. After the couple’s success solving the case in “Murder Mystery,” the dynamic duo decided to open a detective business of their own and are desperate for customers. Much to their surprise, the Spitz family might be getting a miracle much sooner than they had imagined.

Vikram the Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), an old friend of the couple, is getting married and the Spitz family are invited to his private island for a celebration. Once arriving to this decadent island, they look noticeably out of place — their wardrobes don’t match the extravagance of the ceremony and they lack the general “manners” that many of the other guests have. These discrepancies are cemented through a strange dance scene during the wedding reception ceremony that paints them as a target and builds suspicion among other characters before the crime has been committed. In the moment, the groom was supposed to appear at the ceremony, it is revealed that he has been captured by kidnappers who wish to exchange his safety for 70 million dollars at the Arc de Triomphe, suddenly shifting the film’s setting to the Paris, and launching viewers into the mystery of predicting who could have possibly committed such a heinous offense.

Straight out of the gate, the movie feels incredibly formulaic, playing Old Navy-esque beachy music at any chance it gets. For a murder mystery plot that relies on eccentric plot twists, it is surprisingly predictable, following much of the structure of the first film. Admittedly though, the sets are stunning and the movie is overall visually appealing. What stands out in particular is the wedding reception scene’s beautiful wardrobes, bright ranging colors, and pink lighting that imbues the ceremony with an aura of mysticism. However, this does not redeem the film. It’s simply a sign that the film focuses on safe design elements instead of taking any risks that could differentiate it. Although it is unexpected from Adam Sandler’s infamous “Happy Madison Productions” to be anything but ordinary, this film does not try to break out of the Hollywood mold, resulting in something that is very visually action packed, yet somewhat boring.

While “Murder Mystery 2” adheres to the distinctive Sandler humor, it, surprisingly, does not resonate with many audience members. Male characters continuously hit on Audrey throughout the film in a way that provokes Nick to be overly protective, before he turns around and flirts with women in a much more ill-intentioned way. Additionally, there is an absurd amount of potty humor present that just doesn't land. Although these jokes are seemingly harmless, they are dull and flat, resulting in a film that falls short of providing the comedy it promises.

The movie's main scene of redemption comes in France, when the Spitz’s attempt a hostage exchange and are instead kidnapped themselves — becoming the first exciting scene, despite occurring halfway through the film. The Spitz’s are held at gunpoint as they are taken into a van, where a well executed fight scene occurs between the couple and their kidnappers. Despite the confines of the van, the Spitz’s find a variety of clever methods to dispose of the threat being posed by their abductors, ranging from hand to hand combat (with some extra blunt force in the form of a briefcase) to axe murder. Even the soundtrack improves in this scene, playing an uptempo yet noir French song that matches the setting perfectly.

Ultimately, the movie tries to subvert the narrative tropes of a typical murder mystery genre in a similar way to “Knives Out.” But rather than being clever and using the cliches for plot advancement, the film acknowledges these tropes through humor and comedy that doesn’t quite land. Although there is no denying the film’s faults, viewing the film with these in mind can still allow for an enjoyable viewing experience.

—Staff writer Xander D. Patton can be reached at

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