Murder Mystery 2 Review: Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler’s Chemistry And The Desi Tadka Make This Formula Work
For a film franchise that’s titled Murder Mystery, I don’t think most people come to it for its titular thrill at all. The James Vanderbilt-written action comedy franchise barely surprises when it reveals who did it. And now, having seen both films, the formula is evident. No see, I come for the chemistry between Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, both actors with excellent comic timing (also producers), which makes me not mind this formula at all. To Murder Mystery 2, directed by Jeremy Garelick, I came even more enthusiastically, because of the Indian tadka that has been generously sprinkled all over it. I came for Jen in a Manish Malhotra lehenga, and to watch Mélanie Laurent drop it on a Bollywood song in a Papa Don’t Preach outfit.
And guess what? It all came together spiffingly well and yours truly had a pretty fun time! Murder Mystery 2 stars Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Strong, Mélanie Laurent, Jodie Turner-Smith, John Kani, Kuhoo Verma, Enrique Arce, Zurin Villanueva with Dany Boon and Adeel Akhtar.
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Last we met the Spitzes, Nick and Audrey, they went from being nobodies to internationally most wanted suspects in a high profile multiple homicides case, to become heroes who solved said case and caught the real killers. When we see them again in Murder Mystery 2, they’ve both used their good fortune to start their own detective agency, which isn’t exactly doing well. There’s friction in their marriage, or maybe they’re just frustrated. Right on cue, their friend, Vik the Maharaja, invites them to his wedding, an all-expense-paid vacation on an exotic private island. Their villa has a convertible roof that opens to the sky above. They get free iPhones as party favours. And there’s yummy cheese. It’s perfect, only… it’s the Spitzes so you know it’s not going to be a relaxing vacation!
When the groom gets kidnapped during his sangeet entry and held for ransom, Audrey and Nick get the chance to finally put their detective agency on the map as they try to save their friend. There’s competition though, because a renowned detective, who Audrey’s a fan of, is on the case. And as is the norm, the Spitzes become prime suspects within minutes of him getting on the scene! The mystery brings them to Paris, another one of Audrey’s dream holiday destinations, but they can’t really Eiffel and Chill now, can they, when there’s a deadly game afoot and they are on Interpol’s wanted list, again!
As I said, it’s a plot we’ve seen play out before. Spitzes on exotic vacay, murder, becoming suspects because they goofed something up, and then finding a way to prove their innocence with their powers of observation and deduction. And often sheer dumb luck. It could’ve gotten boring the second time around, but Jen Aniston and Adam Sandler, with plenty of help from its ensemble cast that includes a hilarious turn by Enrique Arce AKA La Casa Del Papel menace Arturio, manage to keep it funny and entertaining.
Both the island and the city of Paris as locations are used quite well. (Oh ya, Rachel made it to Paris, finally!) This one scene, right after the groom gets kidnapped, has every possible suspect coming to the Spitzes crazy-fancy villa to tell them who they think did it. And the gigantic size of the villa gives Spitzes enough hiding spots for each one before the next knocks on their door. The climax atop Eiffel Tower throws up an unexpected twist that made me laugh out loud; yet it isn’t forced for laughs but something that could absolutely happen at a place like the Eiffel Tower!
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I’m always kicked that the makers of Murder Mystery (murder singular) aren’t shy about the body count or the destruction that the Spitzes leave in their wake, as if it were a serious crime thriller. It’s never just one person dying, of course. And there’s lots of precious property being trashed without batting an eye, like in this Paris scene where the Spitzes end up crashing into and reportedly destroying the oldest café in Paris!
It’s like a loose mix of an old-school murder mystery and adventure, where the detective gets a chance to dress up cool and deliver long monologues as they reveal who the killer is. To that end, Murder Mystery 2 gets a fitting climax in Le Jules Verne, the noted French restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, named after the French novelist who wrote about adventures and is the second-most translated author in the world (first in French) only after Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. (Incidentally, at the end of the first Murder Mystery, we see Nick and Audrey ride off on the Orient Express).
Desis will find loads to discourse over in Murder Mystery 2 because it does feature an Indian wedding. The film doesn’t just use the Indian wedding as some token extension of the Maharaja’s culture. Other than getting costumes right, it nails the songs and dance chosen for the sangeet, gets a few cleverly funny jokes in about wedding guests, and the Indian culture has a bigger part to play in the grand scheme of things, as you’ll see.
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Also Read: Murder Mystery 2 Trailer: These Two Indian Labels Dressed Jennifer Aniston And The Cast In Desi Looks
I’m glad that the stylists are heeding Diet Sabya stories and getting someone like Manish Malhotra to do Jennifer Aniston’s lehenga for the sangeet and a Papa Don’t Preach red lehenga for the bride’s sangeet outfit. Both actresses look gorgeous! The scene where Jennifer and Adam Sandler look at each other in their Indian wear and are rendered speechless was such a defining moment for me. Like, sure, it made me want a rich friend who’d invite me to their wedding and sponsor gorgeous designer outfits for me too. But I also wanted what Nick and Audrey have—a partner in crime, and someone who could take my breath away even after all these years of being together. That familiarity in a marriage could still make way for moments like these comes through so well in how their characters are written!
That being said, it’ll be interesting to see how their relationship evolves and doesn’t get stuck in the same loop of marital ennui if there’s going to be a third film.
Undoubtedly, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler are the chief attraction of Murder Mystery 2 because they sell the act so well. Familiar faces are returning, like the Colonel, and new ones, like the detective played by Mark Strong. I can’t recall any other film, other than Kingsman, where the man’s played a character that’s not a douche, but I love to see a film try to convince us. Nevertheless, always a delight watching Mark Strong do his thing on screen and hearing his commanding voice. Enrique Arce does what he does best, go all out in playing that guy you want to punch in the face but also feel pity for… somewhat.
Also Read: What To Watch This Week Of March 27 – April 2: Gaslight, Bholaa, Murder Mystery 2, And More
Murder Mystery 2 keeps its promises. I get murders at exotic locations with ridiculous characters, a basic mystery that’ll just do, and lots of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston goofy couple capers. The Indian of it all, I thought was handled well. I think even Diet Sabya approves the NRI fashion you see in the film, and I dig those song choices. I like that the film makes good use of its settings, and goes beyond a very basic usage of the Indian cultural elements for just a wedding ceremony.
One look at Nick and Audrey Spitz and you know they both could do so much better. Especially her. And yet, they’re both happy where they are, with the occasional thrills that life can accord them, and their compatibility is their biggest strength. Murder Mystery 2 then, is much like its protagonists. It retains the spirit of what makes it a fun, light-hearted, breezy, action romantic comedy, capitalising on the comedic chemistry of its leads, and doesn’t burden itself with the pressure of being something exceptional.
I’d totally come back for a third vacation the Spitzes.
Murder Mystery 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.
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- Manish Malhotra
- Indian Wedding
- Jennifer Aniston
- Papa Don't Preach By Shubhika
- Murder Mystery 2
- adam sandler
- Melanie Laurent
Sharp-tongued feminist. Proud nerd. Opinions with on-point pop-culture references about films, books, your toxic BF, the patriarchy, and the Oxford comma.