Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans
Director: Kyle Newacheck
Running Time: 97 mins
Murder Mystery is an American film about a married couple who take a trip to Europe on their 15th wedding anniversary, and unexpectedly find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery involving a number of wealthy and powerful individuals.
It may seem silly at the outset, and in all truth – it is rather silly – but I have to say that I had an absolute whale of a time with Murder Mystery. With rapid-fire comedy from beginning to end that combines hilarious parody with classic, simple gags right the way through, I was laughing and smiling at pretty much every moment. The film might not be the most intelligent or satisfyingly intricate murder mystery, but it has such a brilliantly entertaining pace and sense of humour that you’ll have a blast regardless.
Now, one of the first things to get straight about Murder Mystery is that it’s not what you’d typically call an ‘Adam Sandler movie’. It’s a tag that hasn’t improved with a string of fairly underwhelming releases with Netflix, but this film is certainly one of the best films starring Sandler in a long time, and is in fact far more reminiscent of modern comedy hits like Date Night than the poorest we’ve seen from Sandler and Netflix.
In fact, the Date Night comparison is an interesting one, because that’s a film I’ve always loved to bits, for its fantastically off-the-wall humour and action as well as its immense likability in the form of Tina Fey and Steve Carell’s brilliant lead performances. However, as much as I love Date Night, I have to say that Murder Mystery might just be even funnier.
Firstly, you have two effortlessly likable and funny lead performances in the shape of Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, whose chemistry has come on leaps and bounds from their last on-screen appearance together in Just Go With It. Again reminiscent of Fey and Carell in Date Night, Aniston and Sandler play the average joes thrust into an insane situation brilliantly, and take on the ever more ridiculous chain of events with glee and hilarious energy throughout.
But more than Date Night, which takes on a slightly more generic all-night thriller premise, Murder Mystery uses its parodying of the Agatha Christie/Clue genre to great effect by telling a story that not only cleverly plays on the tropes of the premise, but also manages to craft something that’s genuinely unpredictable, engrossing you to a surprising extent in the resolution of the mystery.
Now, I won’t say that it’s the most intricate murder mystery ever written, and the eventual payoff isn’t quite as satisfying as you would maybe like, but particularly in the early stages of the mystery where Aniston and Sandler play detective themselves, the film is full of delightfully light-hearted mystery and intrigue, providing an extra layer of entertainment beyond the simple comedy.
Of course, the movie’s main objective is still to make you laugh, and that’s something it does handsomely throughout, furthered by its deliriously entertaining fast pacing, featuring great action that actually had me on the edge of my seat while laughing away. Sure, it’s a silly movie, but for pure, unadulterated fun and excitement, Murder Mystery does pretty much everything right, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.1 overall.