18th Jun2019

‘Murder Mystery’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans, Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton, David Walliams, Danny Boon, John Kani, Adeel Akhtar, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Shioli Kutsuna, Erik Griffin | Written by James Vanderbilt | Directed by Kyle Newacheck

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Murder Mystery, directed by Kyle Newacheck (Workaholics, Game Over Man), once again team’s duo Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston after their coupling in Just Go With It, released eight years previously in 2011.

Murder Mystery is the sixth entry into Adam Sandler’s infamous Netflix deal after his departure from Sony almost two years ago. It’s been quite the rocky road to balance sufficient entertainment value from Sandler at his new home. With three films out of the six being a horrendous slog to sit through. Thankfully, his latest is one of his better instalments, perhaps his best comedic performance since the late Nineties. All thanks due to the talent of his co-star Jennifer Aniston, who is delightful as Audrey Spitz, the wife to Sander’s Nick Spitz.

The partnership of Sandler and Aniston is genius. The latter reigns in the childlike prowess of the former with terrific resilience. With that, you don’t have the over indulgence of Sandler’s’ often schlocky mandate for the ridiculous over that of what suits the story. Made better is the lack of Sandler’s regular friends and family motif that has become a form of a virus in his filmography. The comedy here isn’t that type of refreshing stimulating comedy that hits the genre every other decade. Quite the contrary. In fact, this is as procedural and conventional to a point of oblivion. That being said, it doesn’t do a disservice to what you’re expecting is going to be conveyed. It is simplistic, yes, but you’re not here to be converted into a manic cinephile.

You’re here for an Adam Sandler vehicle with the basic intention to make you laugh. The limited expression it holds is actually one of the features strongest cards. Playing the self-aware card with what’s a pretty decent conviction. The film does touch on more gritty and real-life reflections of marriage and family that are a core to Sandler’s film but are executed here to a far greater extent. Although, it never comes in the way of the basic conviction of comedy.

Granted, this isn’t your nuance esoteric Terrence Malick feature. It’s a tongue firmly in cheek parody of any and all Agatha Christie “WhoDunnit” stories, but even then, there is a level of restraint needed. Aniston fortifies said element and brings the best out of Sandler, who is not only on his best behaviour but is rivalling that of Aniston’s dramatic talent. Succeeding more so than not.

The colour palette is over saturated with what feels like a basic misfire in terms of colour grading with rich reds and yellows to purely convince the audience this was shot on location and not in Toronto with built sets. The film does little to express setting and create heightened escapism. It has a lacking of complete and total adventure, and for a film that for the majority takes place in Europe, the audience never truly gets to indulge in the setting.

Murder Mystery is available on Netflix now.

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