Movie Review: Murder Mystery 2

Murder Mystery 2 is more of the same as implied by its simple title. After heading up an investigation following a murder on a billionaire’s yacht, Nick and Audrey quit their day jobs as an NYPD cop and hairdresser to hone their skills as private detectives. Successfully running a P.I. agency into the ground, the couple leverage their invitation to a wealthy friend’s lavish wedding on a private island. However, when “The Maharajah” arrives to his wedding on an elephant, things spiral out of control as the private eye couple are catapulted into a new caper.

Murder Mystery was a hotchpotch of murder mystery hijinks, a silly distraction that attempted to upscale the fun of Clue with just as many oddballs. Breaking free of the mansion setting – now a luxury yacht, the whodunnit blends Cluedo’s campy classic board game charm with the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego videogame for some globe-trotting misadventure. Led by a breezy Adam Sandler and delightful Jennifer Aniston, Murder Mystery was a colourful, goofy and undemanding crime comedy with enough name stars and flashy sequences to add up to a good time.

Murder Mystery pre-empted a comeback for Adam Sandler, who followed this up with critically-acclaimed performances in Uncut Gems and Hustle. Having just received the Mark Twain Prize for American humour, Sandler must be on a bit of a high right now with what will probably be another big day out on Netflix for Murder Mystery 2. While Sandler and Aniston have proven their versatility, able to switch things up when it comes to comedy and drama, Murder Mystery’s lightweight mainstream feel is carried through in their performances.

Boasting Mélanie Laurent, Jodie Turner-Smith, Dany Boon, John Kani and Mark Strong, there’s a depth of talent at the disposal of director, Jeremy Garelick, who’s best known for The Wedding Ringer. Unfortunately, in keeping with the original, this bumbling action crime comedy is content to coast, not really giving any character enough back story or screen time to truly shine. Continually refocusing on Nick and Audrey to siphon star power and cute couple energy, Murder Mystery 2 is happy to pander to eye candy, get by on popcorn storytelling and wallow in its co-lead’s charms. While the acting could be worse, Mark Strong reminds us why he’s such a consummate professional, adding substance, weight and impetus to an otherwise flimsy MI6 super detective, Connor Miller.

murder mystery 2 movie

“Right, I’m from MI6… let’s fix this kerfuffle.”

Murder Mystery 2 starts out like Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, whereby guests arrive on a private island to frolic in the lap of luxury. Unveiling its ensemble of possible suspects, the co-lead focus could have very easily turned this caper into Shotgun Wedding, whereby a couple have to save the day. However, instead of pulling a copycat on either of these middling action crime comedies it tips into classic sequel territory as it heads to Paris and upscales as a rinse-and-repeat of the original Murder Mystery in Rush Hour 2 fashion.

This whodunnit is a bit troubled by its plotting and title. Being Murder Mystery 2, you’d expect the prime focus to be on the murder but this continuation of events from the first film simply skips over this sequel’s murder to get to grips with an abduction. While there’s a quick and convenient round of finger-pointing at a bunch of main characters, there’s no attempt to capitalise on the dramatic suspense of these suspicions. Staged on a private island, everyone’s teleported to Paris, as if the murder investigation was part of a Contiki tour. Having enough flash to get the ball rolling, the inane dialogue, hit-and-miss sense of humour and seemingly inconsequential action begins to fester as the rinse-and-repeat feel kicks in.

This dull surprise and utter predictability must be comforting in these uncertain times, offering a mainstream mulch of fun chirps, holiday destinations and a diverse mix of Hollywood stars. While the sequel to Knives Out also seemed like a check box affair, Murder Mystery 2 seems content to follow in its wake, dishing up a series of mildly amusing action and comedy set pieces. The trailer serves as a bite size version of the movie, stealing the most memorable moments and rendering the feature film almost unnecessary. To be fair, there’s one action set piece from the trailer that finds Murder Mystery 2 at its absolute best, but there’s a general lethargy to almost everything else.

As much as mindless fun has its place, Murder Mystery 2 is underwhelming, a pretty postcard from a faraway place that’s flimsy, unnecessary and doesn’t have all that much to say in spite of its colourful, picturesque and “wish you were here” sentiment. While it starts with promise, fueled by cheerful co-lead chemistry and holiday spirit, it’s probably a good thing you’re watching Murder Mystery 2 from the comfort of a couch. The most inspired thing about it is fading to black with ‘Spellbinding’ a catchy track from The Smashing Pumpkins. Ultimately, Murder Mystery 2 is what it is, more of the same, no one’s baby… a lethargic and lightweight distraction with a few chuckles, a campy effervescent charm and a few familiar faces.

The bottom line: Inane