Rob Reviews "Murder Mystery 2"
We run a number of bits on our show, but the one that applies to this particular review for Murder Mystery 2 is simply “were there too many unanswered questions from the first one?”. I didn’t really dig Murder Mystery, but that question doesn’t really apply to the detective genre. There can be some threads that run through (and there ARE here), but each film of this type with the same main character(s) can work independently due to the nature of that particular genre.
This time around, Nick and Audrey Spitz (Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, respectively) have left their day jobs and decided to form their own private investigation firm after their work in the first film. Things are not going particularly well for them, but they get a bit of a breather when their friend, The Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), invites them to a private island for his upcoming wedding. Because the Spitz’s constantly have trouble following the, The Maharajah is kidnapped and his new head of security is killed, and the suspect list is pretty much anyone around The Maharajah. It’s up to them to find the killer before the kidnappers kill him too alongside renown investigator Miller (Mark Strong).
I set the bar extremely low for this given my very “meh” thoughts on its predecessor, mainly revolving around me not really buying Sandler and Aniston as a loving married couple. What kept me going through that film was my love for the detective story genre with what appears to be its goal of establishing a Nick and Nora Charles for a new generation. (If you don’t recognize those names, see movies like The Thin Man from 1934.) The good news here is that the sequel really leans more into that than the relationship itself; this was established in the first film and returning screenwriter James Vanderbilt, who also has written the newest Scream films as well as both The Amazing Spider-Man films, does a good job recognizing that and not trying to re-establish it for those who are using this as a jumping-on point.
The whodunit aspect of this story is where its bread and butter is, and that is cranked ALL the way up with great action, chase scenes, and visuals that take a break-neck pace for this entire film. Sure, it’s cheesy… but it’s MEANT to be. Sandler still has enough of his past performances to not make this role seem out of sorts (I’m still trying to sort out Punch Drunk Love), and Aniston does exactly what she does, which keeps the narrative moving in a fun way. I’m still not totally on board with the “married couple” thing, but they do have good chemistry as partners in business and crime (allegedly). The returning cast enhances the fun as well as Strong, Mélanie Laurent as The Maharajah’s fiancé, Jodie Turner-Smith as his former fiancé, Enrique Arce as his business partner, and Kuhoo Verma as his sister in a suspect list that just gets more and more twisted as the film goes on.
I’m going to say it, and I’m not afraid to do so: Murder Mystery 2 is the rare occasion where I enjoyed a sequel more than I enjoyed the film that came before it. With less world-building and more plot and silly action as well as a better pace, this is a fun way to spend a date night even paired with the first one if you have not seen it yet.