Movie Review: “Murder Mystery”
Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler) is a cop in New York. He loves his wife (Jennifer Aniston), but after ten years of marriage, he has yet to take her on a honeymoon. This has put a strain on their relationship, so for their tenth anniversary, Nick decides to take his wife on a European vacation. Unfortunately, their trip ends up being far from the relaxing and romantic vacation that they were hoping for.
On the flight to Europe, Nick and his wife meet a wealthy man (Luke Evans) who invites the married couple onto his yacht for a cruise around Europe. Once on the yacht, someone is murdered. To make things worse, Nick and his wife are framed for that murder. Now, they must rely on Nick’s detective instincts, as well as their strength as husband and wife, to prove their innocence. However, the stakes get higher as the real killer takes more victims.
The Pros & Cons
Jennifer Aniston (+3pts)
The Action & Comedy (+4pts)
The Detective (-4pts)
The Mystery (+4pts)
The Logic (-5pts)
Pro: Jennifer Aniston (+3pts)
Jennifer Aniston has become pretty reliable, in the sense that she is always either in good movies or is one of the best parts of the movies that she is in. She is just as talented dramatically as she is comedically, and she brought all of that to this movie. Unfortunately, her character was not given a ton of development or many funny moments, so there was not a ton of material for her to sink her teeth into, but Jennifer Aniston still added something to this movie.
Jennifer Aniston played Nick’s wife, Audrey. The character was not given a whole lot to do, but she delivered the drama and the comedy whenever it was needed from her character. She made the character relatable, made her likable, and used the dramatic scenes she did get to give depth to her character. Had another actress been in this role, it very much could have been a generic character. With Jennifer Aniston, the character was interesting and I cared about her story.
Con: Nick (-5pts)
I really did not like Nick Spitz or his story. There was really nothing special about the character, and his story felt like a distraction from the main plot of the movie. Comedically, the character was not given a whole lot to do. He reacted to the comedic characters, which was funny at times, but this character was not one that let Adam Sandler’s comedic talent shine. The character’s focus was to keep the plot moving. Adam Sandler delivered the drama that the story needed from him, but it was not the kind of drama that felt very impactful. I felt like the character was a waste of Adam Sandler’s talent, but my issues with the character did not stop there.
Ignoring Adam Sandler for a moment, I thought that this character’s story felt like a distraction from the main plot of this movie. The main plot of this movie was it’s premise. A couple on their honeymoon are framed for murder and try to solve the mystery to prove their innocence. It is a pretty simple premise, but the filmmakers decided to add this whole other aspect of the story (regarding Nick’s career). This should have been a secondary plot line, but I thought that it got a bit too much focus. The filmmakers spent more time concentrating on Nick’s career, as well as its impact on his life, and less time focusing on the murder mystery plot line. This could have been a fun, silly movie with a simple premise, but Nick’s storyline felt like a distraction from that (and it was not a compelling enough story to feel worth it).
Pro: The Action & Comedy (+4pts)
To be very clear, there was nothing in this movie (in terms of action or comedy) that came anywhere near blowing me away. There were no great, laugh-out-loud moments or crazy action sequences. There was, however, enough action and comedy to keep me entertained and watching. I also completely understand that this was far from an “action” movie. When I say “action”, I just mean that there were scenes and incidents with mild action that made the movie feel eventful.
Were there any memorable, laugh-out-loud moments? No, but there were plenty of moments that made me chuckle. Were there any crazy action sequences? No, but there was enough “action” to keep me engaged in the movie. The movie was pretty average when you look at it from the perspective of either of these genres, but it succeeded in keeping me moderately entertained from start to finish.
Con: The Detective (-4pts)
This movie had a lot of similarities to Murder on the Orient Express. One of these similarities was that this movie had an experienced detective, who jumped on the case after the initial murder, that tried to determine which of the passengers was the killer. I figured there would be some comedic clashing between this character and Adam Sandler’s character, but that was not the case. This character clashes with the main character, but this was not done comedically or even in a well-written dramatic way.
Instead, the “experienced” detective jumps to conclusions and makes wildly unjustified accusations. It made the character feel like a bad detective when the whole point of the character was that he was supposed to have been a great one. I honestly do not understand what role this character was supposed to have played. He was a poorly written, poorly thought out dramatic character. This could have been forgiven if he served the movie comedically, but he did not. He was not funny, and was not interesting. This was just a useless character that did nothing but waste screen time.
Pro: The Mystery (+4pts)
I thought the filmmakers did a decent job with the mystery. The final reveal did not feel very satisfying, but the filmmakers kept me guessing who the killer was throughout the entire movie. Did they sacrifice logic and the hopes of delivering a satisfying reveal? Yes, but the ride was one that kept me guessing and kept me watching, as I was interested enough to want to see who the killer was. I think the filmmakers could have done a better job at revealing the killer in a more impactful, satisfying way, but they did a decent job of maintaining the film’s mystery, right up until the end of the story.
Con: The Logic (-5pts)
I sort of touched on most of this already, so I will keep this brief, but the filmmakers seemed to abandon logic in a lot of areas throughout this story. To start, I did not see any justifiable reason as to why Luke Evans’ character would invite the main characters onto his yacht in the first place. They also abandoned logic by having the “expert” detective jump to wild conclusions. Logic was then abandoned yet again when wrapping up the film’s story and choosing a killer. I had a number of issues with the plot of this movie and while none were major issues on their own, they were (together) evidence of lazy writing and an absence of logic.
Grade: C- (72pts)
This movie was not quite bad, but was definitely not great. It had a decent premise, as an Adam Sandler parody of Murder on the Orient Express, but the filmmakers seemed to get distracted from that premise. Instead, they focused (in my opinion too heavily) on the main character’s career. This was not an interesting storyline, and it had the negative side effects of distracting from the film’s premise while preventing Adam Sandler from letting his comedic chops loose. His character was more of a dramatic, plot-progression type of character and (while he did a fine job with it) the writing for the character and the plot was weak, which made the whole thing feel like a waste of Adam Sandler’s ability. Jennifer Aniston was definitely one of the better parts of the movie. Her character was written just as poorly as everything else in this movie, but she made her character both relatable and likable, which helped keep me watching.
At the end of the day, this movie’s biggest issue was its writing. The writing was not all bad, but it was either illogical or bland. The writing of the plot itself was filled with illogical plot holes, and the writing of the characters just felt bland (not bad, but not interesting). The movie was not quite “bad” though. While I had plenty of issues with it, it kept me watching and kept moderately entertained (through its mystery, mild comedy, and mild action). It is not a bad movie to throw on if you are struggling to find something to watch. However, you should manage your expectations going into it.