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Movie Review: “Murder Mystery”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Netflix Release: 6/14/2019

Netflix Release: 6/14/2019

Synopsis

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, however, someone is tragically 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. Unfortunately, their situation goes from bad to worse, as the real killer begins to claim more victims.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Jennifer Aniston (+3pts)

Nick (-5pts)

The Action & Comedy (+4pts)

The Detective (-4pts)

The Mystery (+4pts)

The Logic (-5pts)

movie-review-murder-mystery

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. Nonetheless, 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, she made the character likable, and she 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, however, the character was interesting, and I cared about her story.

movie-review-murder-mystery

Con: Nick (-5pts)

I really did not like Nick Spitz or his story, as there was really nothing special about the character. Comedically, the character was not given a whole lot to do. He reacted to the comedic characters, and that 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 ever felt very impactful. The character was just a waste of Adam Sandler’s talent on all accounts, but my issues with the character did not stop there.

This character’s story felt like a distraction from the main plot of the movie. It was a pretty simple premise, and it could have made for a strong movie if done right, but the filmmakers decided to add this whole other storyline regarding Nick’s career. This should have been a secondary plot line at the most, but it got a lot of attention. It would have been fine if this storyline was interesting, emotionally gripping. You have seen this storyline done before, and you have seen it done better. This made it uninteresting and predictable, which is a bad combination considering how much screentime the filmmakers spent focusing on it.

movie-review-murder-mystery

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 nor were there any crazy action sequences. There was, however, enough action and comedy to keep me mildly entertained and watching. I also completely understand that this was far from an action movie, so I say “action”, I just mean scenes and incidents with mild action that made the movie feel eventful. Neither were very memorable, but both kept me watching.

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Con: The Detective (-4pts)

This movie had a lot of similarities to Murder on the Orient Express. One of those similarities was the experienced detective, who jumped on the case after the initial murder, and 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 clashed with the main character, sure, but this was not done comedically, nor was it done in a dramatic way that made me want to see Nick prove him wrong.

Instead, the “experienced” detective jumped to conclusions and made wildly unjustified accusations. It made the character feel like a bad detective when the whole point 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 character who was not funny, and who was not interesting. He was instead just a pointless character that did nothing but waste screen time.

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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 in the hopes of delivering a surprising reveal? Yes, but the ride was one that kept me guessing and it kept me engaged, as I was interested enough to want to see who the killer was, despite the movie’s many problems. 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 my interest in the mystery, right up until the end of the story.

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Con: The Logic (-5pts)

The filmmakers seemed to abandon logic in a lot of areas throughout this story. To start, I did not see any logical 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.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-murder-mystery

Grade: C- (72pts)

This movie was not quite bad, but it 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 too heavily on the main character’s career. This was not an interesting storyline, and prevented Adam Sandler from letting his comedic talent loose. His character was more of a dramatic, plot-progression type of character and, while he did a fine enough job with it, both the character’s story and the overall plot were 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, 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 movie was not quite “bad” though. While I had plenty of issues with it, it kept me watching and it kept moderately entertained—through its mystery, mild comedy, and mild action. It would not be a bad movie to throw on if you are struggling to find something to watch, but you should manage your expectations going into it.

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