The recently released Netflix film Murder Mystery, which stars Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler, has all the makings of a summer blockbuster with its stylized settings, beautiful production value, a cast of outstanding actors and an okay script. However, the mediocre dialogue mixed with some misplaced juvenile camp and gratuitous scenes, as well as an absence of plot twists will disappoint viewers who have awaited a reuniting between the two stars.
Murder Mystery is the story of a blue-collar couple, Nick (Sandler) and Audrey (Anniston) Spitz, a beat cop, and a hair stylist, who are on their long overdue honeymoon. After a chance encounter on their flight to Europe, they are invited by a lord/viscount (Luke Evans) to join him and his family on a yacht cruise. Once there, they encounter a multi-billionaire uncle (Terrence Stamp), a maharaji (Adeel Akhtar) a movie star (Gemma Arterton), a Formula One driver (Luis Gerardo Méndez), a Colonel (John Kani) and a few others.
The scene is set, and what starts out to be the common snide jeering and derisive comments often found at family gatherings, turns into a “murder mystery” when the lights go out and the old uncle, who was about to sign his fortune over to his young bride (Shioli Kutsuna), is murdered.
The Spitzes, the only Americans and the ones without motive, become the suspects. The couple goes on the lam, until they can figure out who actually killed the old uncle. There are domino bookcases, a walk on a ledge and a street and car chase, all which lack edge-of-your-seat tension.
Creators, James Vanderbilt and Kyle Newacheck might have taken a cue from the film Date Night, which was also about a married couple, who find themselves in the middle of criminal intrigue. The film would have bombed were it not for Tina Fey’s and Steve Carrell’s quirky chemistry, physical comedy, dry humor and of course Mark Wahlberg’s shirtless portrayal of Holbrooke.
While the actors of Murder Mystery do their best to deliver the lackluster scenes, and even though Sandler sports a moustache a la William Powell and Dashiell Hammett, Vanderbilt’s and Newacheck’s creation just doesn’t have the originality, pizazz, not even a McGuffin like some of the memorable comedic mystery classics that came before it: Foul Play (Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase), Charade (Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn), and any Dashiell Hammett movie with the Nick and Nora Charles characters (William Powell and Myrna Loy).