Netflixable? The Vulgarians Rise Again — “Murder Mystery 2”

Is “Murder Mystery 2” worse than 2019’s “Murder Mystery?” Tough call. Mainly because I don’t remember anything about the original save for the reunited of Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, that “Just Go With It” version of Tracy and Hepburn, for a violent caper comedy.

Hey, you didn’t actually expect me to endorse this garbage, did you? I barely got over throwing up upon hearing Sandler forever devalued The Mark Twain Prize by being honored with it when this meringue-flavored merde dropped into my Netflix queue.

“Murder Mystery 2” is another violent and vulgar and seriously half-assed action “mystery” built around the not-really-private-eyes couple of Nick-the-ex-cop Spitz and his smarter hairdresser wife Audrey, played by less-funny-by-the-year Aniston and Sandler.

They’re debating Nick’s reluctance to read up on how to be a private detective so that he can be licensed by the state — this after he never quite “made detective” with the NYPD — when a wedding invitation jets them to Asia.

It’s a resort nuptials for their rich Indian pal Vik, the Maharah (Adeel Akhatar, not funny) to a stunning Paris “shop girl” he recently met (Mélanie Laurent, classing up the joint). The cast is doing “The Welcome Dance” (a touch of Bollywood) when they’re interrupted by their tycoon host and groom being kidnapped.

Look at the photo above. All of the “suspects” in this inside job are in that shot. Guess who did it?

Assorted exes, siblings and hangers-on could be accused. But just as the Spitzes are about to dive in, this ex-MI6 bloke (Mark Strong) shows up, takes over and slows their roll and yet must tolerate them as the kidnappers request the Spitz dolts be the ones they negotiates with.

“You know what? You’re gonna hurt your back!”

You know what would hurt my back? A knife sticking through it!”

That’s the way the dialogue goes. As for story arc, let’s add another working vacation as enticement for the leads. Let’s exchange the Big Cash Payout for kidnapped Vik in Paris, shall we?

That gives the film the chance to bring back the French Inspector Delacroix (Dany Boon, almost funny), to go along with players including Sophie Turner-Smith, Enrique Arce and Kuhoo Verma, and whatever other random hires are paid to show up in pointless roles (Jillian Bell and Tony Goldwyn).

Sure, it’s mercifully free of the Sandler hangers-on that were a staple of his succession of increasingly awful Hollywood comedies. But one almost wishes somebody with at least a little experience landing a laugh was featured in the supporting cast.

Chemistry between the leads? Not really, but then, the characters have been married for 16 years, so maybe that’s just “realistic.”

Director Jeremy Garelick pays more attention to action beats, including a merrily violent van chase through Paris, a helicopter stunt and vigorous work-outs from Sandler’s and everybody else’s stunt-doubles.

I think I chucked twice, once when Strong lets fly a “Huzzah!”

Rating: PG-13 (Suggestive Material|Bloody Images|Strong Language|Smoking|Violence)

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, Mélanie Laurent, Adeel Akhtar, Jillian Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Tony Goldwyn and Mark Strong

Credits: Directed by Jeremy Garelick, scripted by James Vanderbilt. A Netflix release.

Running time: 1:30


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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