NYC cop (Adam Sandler) finally takes his wife (Jennifer Aniston) on a long awaited trip to Europe. It is their fifteenth wedding anniversary. A fortuitous meeting on the flight gets them on a luxury yacht belonging to an extremely wealthy and old person Malcolm Quince. They are the only strangers amidst family members. The old man is murdered just before he attempts to change his will. They become prime suspects and attempt to clear their names by solving the mystery.
The bar isn’t very high, but this Adam Sandler starrer is possibly one of his better movies. He reunites with Jennifer Anniston, his co-star in Just Go With it. They have an easy-going, light chemistry that is believable and entertaining at the same time. This is a feel-good movie, even though both the mystery and comedy are passable. And, hardly anyone is complaining.
The thing is Murder Mystery seems to know exactly from the get-go just how frivolous it is, and is happy about it anyway. As Nick (Adam) and Audrey (Jennifer) Spitz- he’s a cop, she’s a hairdresser. On the flight, Audrey sneaks into first class and meets Cavendish, a viscount who quite spontaneously invites them to join him on the family’s luxury yacht owned by his tetchy old billionaire uncle Malcolm Quince.
On the boat, they are introduced to a motley group of potential suspects : an actress, a one-eyed colonel, a Russian guard, a race-car driver, a Maharajah, Malcolm’s son and his much-younger new bride. After Malcolm Quince is murdered, other guests begin dropping like flies. While Audrey is quite thrilled that the trip is turning out to be like one of her favorite mystery novels, Nick just wants to unwind and stick his face into some shrimp treats.
Unfortunately, they are soon regarded as prime suspects by Inspector de la Croix, the chain-smoking French policeman. They set out to clear their names and solve the mystery by seeking out the real murderer.
What keeps Murder Mystery from going under, is the fun factor. And there’s no dearth of that in the film. You have the couple negotiating a perilous ledge outside their hotel and then hiding under a bed during a romantic encounter. There’s Sandler’s goofy humor and one-liners, and Anniston’s perky rejoinders and keen interest in the case.
Murder Mystery feels like a game of Cluedo, with an intimate gathering, a parlor setting, a weapon and a murder to be solved. Any movie titled “Murder Mystery” will clearly strike a chord with Christie fans. As such, the movie ends with an explicit ode to Agatha Christie.
My Honest Opinion
I’m not a big fan of Adam Sandler. So, though the trailer and the title intrigued me, I was still skeptical. But in this movie, he seems to have grown out of his man-child persona and is completely relatable as a middle-aged husband, trying to make the most of his vacation. Aniston of course, takes the movie up several notches with a bright and spright performance.
The disappointment comes in the form of supporting actors who seem overly theatric and animated. The Maharajah’s performance in particular was an embarrassment and quite frankly, grated on my nerves. After the first few minutes of his introduction, I was kind of hoping he would be the first to drop dead.
Overall, Murder Mystery was an entertaining watch. It’s fun enough that you don’t even care too much about the big reveal at the end. Its mild comedy, partial suspense and likeable leads, will not grab you by the eye-balls but may hold your attention enough to keep you smiling until the end.