Murder Mystery 2 review – Laughs go missing in criminal sequel

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in Murder Mystery 2.Netflix

Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston return for a sequel to their 2019 hit comedy, but unfortunately they can’t recapture the magic that made the first film work, with Murder Mystery 2 less mysterious than its predecessor, and criminally, less funny.

The first flick was an enjoyable caper about a married couple – him a New York cop, her a hairdresser – finding themselves slap-bang in the middle of a murder investigation while celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary abroad.

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Its cast was star-studded, the locations glamorous, the laughs came thick and fast, and the mystery at the centre of the movie kept audiences guessing.

And the Netflix faithful duly lapped it up. Murder Mystery was little short of a sensation when it launched, breaking viewer records in its opening weekend, so it’s no surprise the streamer quickly green-lit a sequel. Just a shame that it’s not a patch on the original.

What is Murder-Mystery 2 about?

Murder-Mystery 2 kicks off with a recap of the events of the first film, as well as details on what has happened since. Seems Nick and Audrey Spritz have given up their day jobs to become full-time private investigators.

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Trouble is, the business they poured their life savings into is struggling. Largely because they aren’t very good at detective work. Via voiceover we’re told: “Nick and Audrey could only pray for a miracle… that someone close to them would be killed.”

Cue a call from The Maharajah – their friend from the first film – with an invite to his sumptuous wedding on a private island with all expenses paid. The Spritzes weigh up the pros and cons – pro being they need a break, con being last time they vacationed, lots of people died – and decide it’s worth the risk, so start packing.

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The crime

The film gets off to a brisk and breezy start, as within minutes, the squabbling couple are arriving on said island, and being greeted by the hilarious Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), and his bride-to-be Claudette (Melanie Laurent).

They meet the guests/soon-to-be suspects. Check out their luxurious digs. And head to the rehearsal dinner. Trouble is, over the space of about 10 minutes, pretty much every joke fails, with gags about Billie Eilish, the word ‘Schitz,’ and flamingos in diapers barely raising a smile, let alone a laugh.

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That dinner is then a disaster, in part because Nick and Audrey struggle to fit in. But mainly due The Maharajah’s new bodyguard being murdered, and the man himself kidnapped, and held for ransom.

So even though they are in tropical sunshine, lightning strikes twice for Mr. and Mrs. Spitz as they find themselves once again in the midst of a mystery. And yet again, the dynamic duo rise to the occasion by trying to crack the case.

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The suspects

In a spot of enjoyably silly farce, each guest visits the Spitz room. Pours their heart out. Then hides when another suspect arrives to do the same. Resulting in their accommodation quickly being filled with concealed suspects.

They include fiancee Claudette, who signed a huge pre-nup. Former fiancee Countess Sakou (Jodie Turner-Smith), who is also Claudette’s best friend. Sister Saira (Kuhoo Verma) who is stuck in her brother’s shadow. Friend Francisco (Enrique Arce) who owes huge amounts to his many baby-mothers. And Colonel Ulenga (John Kani) the former bodyguard who was promptly sacked after saving the Maharajah’s life.

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But before Nick and Audrey can properly quiz said suspects to make their case, former MI6 hostage negotiator Miller (Mark Strong) shows up to show them how it’s done.

The game is afoot

It’s fun watching Sandler and Strong compete with each other, the latter clearly having a blast sending up his tough guy persona, the former delivering his usual smart-arse schtick.

The action then shifts to France, where the film then drifts for the rest of its runtime. Largely because the kidnapping plot at the heart of the film isn’t all that interesting. A bit like those aforementioned motives, which aren’t the most intriguing. While what action there is couldn’t be less exciting, especially when there’s dodgy green-screen involved.

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Murder Mystery 2 features a twist and a turn along the way, both of which you’ll likely see coming. While the climax at the Eiffel Tower is wholly underwhelming, though does feature the film’s best joke, via a superb cameo from Jillian Bell.

The Verdict – Is Murder Mystery 2 good?

Murder Mystery 2 fails in pretty much all the ways the first Murder Mystery succeeded. The jokes mostly fall flat, while those concerning a pervy detective and a suicide vest are ill-judged.

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The ensemble doesn’t bring much to proceedings either, aside from MVPs Mark Strong and Adeel Akhtar, who do deliver laughs. While Sandler and Aniston mostly look like they are sleep-walking through the sequel.

But worst of all, the case at the heart of the movie is deathly dull, making Murder Mystery 2 feel like a pretty pointless exercise.

Murder Mystery 2 review score: 2/5

Alas, the second Murder Mystery movie is a sequel that’s inferior to its predecessor in every way, shape, and form.

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Murder Mystery 2 is currently streaming on Netflix. You can read about the cast and characters here, while we’ve got the ending explained here.

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