'Murder Mystery' Review
Murder Mystery was released as a Netflix Original in June of 2019. A jaded cop and his wife head abroad for the honeymoon they've always wanted. After an impromptu invitation abroad a millionaire's cruise ship, they're framed for crimes they didn't commit.
- Action | Comedy | Drama & Rated PG-13
- Directed by Kyle Newacheck.
- Screenplay by James Vanderbilt.
- Starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Anniston, Luke Evans, Terrance Stamp, Gemma Arterton and, David Williams.
Tempted by Netflix's release of viewer statistics recently, I thought I should join the more than 30 million people watching Murder Mystery. A film that tells the story of an oddly matched couple, Nick and Audrey. Nick is a cop and wanna-be police detective with Anniston as Audrey, a hairdresser.
The couples jaded marriage is underpinned by Nick's incessant lies about having failed the detective's test numerous times. Added to this is his unfailing ability to be a crappy husband. After more than a decade of marriage, Nick springs for a honeymoon for him and his wife as a wedding anniversary present. They set off via plane where Audrey finds herself in the first class lounge, chatting with a wealthy aristocrat in the middle of the night. In an attempt to throw a spanner in the impending works of a family cruise, Lord Charles Cavendish invites the motley pair to join him. It's from this point onward the laughs should be abundant.
Lights, Camera, Action
To be perfectly honest, I simply expected more from a team like Anniston and Sandler. Together, the gags they were given were too toilet humor focussed to be remotely funny. A running d*ck joke uttered by Nick Spitz in reference to Colonel Ulenga's bomb injuries were ill-timed and left hanging in the air. A modern spin on an old classic murder mystery tale immediately uncloaked when Audrey and Nick recoiled at the Colonel's artificial hand. There were other jokes equally as flat but I would be remiss to list them all here.
As for the action, this was a movie that was clearly lacking in this department. The underpinning story for Nick and Audrey's marriage pitfall is underwhelming and seemed to only get used to set up for one semi-decent gag later on. It's here that a lot of time was spent having them discuss their marriage problems and it impacted the pacing heavily. Was Sadler miscast in his role as a smart yet likable husband? Is he a one trick pony that's running out of steam? In almost all scenes, I found him increasingly unlikeable and at times wished that Audrey would run off with the charming Charles. Later though, Audrey dons a fancy red dress and all seems to be forgiven.
During films of this ilk, it's not uncommon to feel as though you've been holding your breath as you try and work out who the killer is. Instead, I wanted the Spitz to stop having so many conversations. I specifically wanted them to stop telling each other how much they loved each other.
Luke Warm Comedy
Unfortunately, there is so much to dislike about this lukewarm comedy that it's hard to know exactly where to begin. During the first few scenes where Audrey and Nick come aboard the large vessel, it's obvious this movie is a spin on any murder mystery film you care to mention. The characters are all straight out of any board game similar to something like Cluedo. It's fair to say the narrative is set towards a specific formula and it was during this first half that I had my hopes up. Who doesn't like a good whodunit?
The generic layout of Murder Mystery is what I liked about it. It's fun to watch a cliche bunch of cartoonish characters comes to life. The film even makes a play on words during its finale with one final jab to be witty. Some of the cast I liked well enough, for example, Juan Carlos who drives race cars and speaks no English. His well-timed enthusiasm inserted into conversations was cute and quirky to watch. At the same time, I also enjoyed Charles Cavendish, who was played by Luke Evans. His performance here made for a convincing red herring. It was hard to guess whether he was either the good guy or the bad guy.
You Can't Fake Drive
It was during the final scenes that my patience wore thin. I fast forwarded through one of the worst car chases I have ever seen. Anniston's ability to even remotely look like she was driving a Lamborghini and the inclusion of the chase having the camera facing her was a badly thought out idea.
Following this abysmal road race with a professional race car driver was a deflating and anti-climatic reveal. I do hope Murder Mystery's screenplay writer James Vanderbilt goes back to the darker areas of cinema in the future in lieu of this more light-hearted quasi rom-com, comedy genre.
While Murder Mystery wasn't completely without some enjoyable moments, they were few and far between.
I give Murder Mystery 2 hard won stars out of 5
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