Murder Mystery 2 (2023) – Movie Review

Murder Mystery 2, 2023.

Directed by Jeremy Garelick.
Starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Strong, Adeel Akhtar, Mélanie Laurent, Jodie Turner-Smith, John Kani, Kuhoo Verma, Dany Boon, Enrique Arce, Zurin Villanueva, Annie Mumolo, Jillian Bell, Myo Leong, and Tony Goldwyn.


Now full-time detectives struggling to get their private eye agency off the ground, Nick and Audrey Spitz find themselves at the center of an international abduction when their friend the Maharaja is kidnapped at his own lavish wedding.

Murder Mystery 2 marks the return of accidental homicide investigators Nick and Audrey Spitz (once again played by Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston), or the “Shitz” going by one of the lame and lazy early foreign accent jokes from series newcomer director Jeremy Garelick (although screenwriter James Vanderbilt returns), something so weak it’s almost shocking that the joke wasn’t used in the first movie (or maybe it was; I already blocked out most of that movie). That’s the level of humor you have in store for you here.

While Nick did serve a stint as a New York detective for real this time, and Audrey continues to be a hairdresser, the pair find themselves bickering more than ever and struggling to make something of their criminal investigation hobby. Things have become so dire that the two make a dark joke about how it will take one of their close friends being kidnapped or killed to reinvigorate their private detective careers. That’s also a compelling jumping-off point for a new mystery, but the filmmakers don’t even seem interested in the one good idea they have.

Instead, this is used as a plot convenience to keep them investigating a new murder rather than pushed and expanded on to create further friction between Nick and Audrey. Why not heighten their squabbling further by having them point fingers at one another regarding this new murder? Murder Mystery 2 is already dumb and illogical, so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to buy into a couple that frequently argues with one another, investigating themselves just as much as the other suspects.

The short and simple answer to this is that Murder Mystery 2 has much more of that Netflix money behind it. It’s the kind of movie that doesn’t really know much about Indian wedding customs but has enough cash behind it to overwhelm the viewer with expensive and colorful production design that doesn’t necessarily come through appealingly. It’s a mess of money on-screen trying to trick viewers into thinking it’s visually captivating. Equally, the action sequences are bigger and louder, but most importantly, not necessarily better (although there is a Paris car chase sequence with some hand-to-hand combat inside moving vehicles that’s mildly entertaining and competently put together).

Some good news is that the filmmakers are aware Murder Mystery 2 is shallow without a tantalizing mystery at its core, even if some of the attempts at genre deconstruction are occasionally funny. Discounting the ending credits, the film barely crosses the 80-minute mark, content with moving from one set piece to the next once the murder itself occurs. If there was ever a film that’s trying to get in, lazily entertain, and get out, it’s Murder Mystery 2.

That murder comes when Nick and Audrey are invited to India for a wedding between The Maharajah (a returning Adeel Akhtar), who is inevitably kidnapped with a hefty ransom attached. Now, why filmmakers would bring back characters from a previous film and make them the target is especially puzzling since it generally eliminates our suspicion of them doing something crafty and secretly pulling the strings. Even one of the suspects is a returning character for no solid reason.

However, potential suspects also include an ex-partner, the fiancé, the sister, and Mark Strong as a special agent skilled in handling hostage situations. None of them are particularly funny or interesting, although Jillian Bell shows up for one scene and steals the movie, and will instantly have people wishing she had a larger role. Beyond that, Murder Mystery 2 is nothing more than Adam Sandler and company in “let’s make a movie while vacationing” mode.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★  / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]


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