How much can I say about Adam Sandler films in this review that hasn’t already been said? Not much, if I’m being honest. With every new project he releases on Netflix I hope that he’ll suddenly be funny again, but so far he has just churned out more forgettable mediocrity. Murder Mystery is yet another example of this and it begs the question: when is it time to stop? Given that this film has some of the highest amount of streams in the first couple days in Netflix history, the answer is probably never. At least he doesn’t have an annoying accent this time.
Murder Mystery is Happy Madison’s attempt at an Agatha Christie-like story, with Sandler’s character and his wife (Jennifer Aniston for some reason) being the Hercule Poirot of the mystery. The two find themselves caught up with a dangerous plot when they are invited onto a rich entrepreneur’s yacht as an alternative to their planned European vacation. Once they are onboard, they realize that the family of the entrepreneur (a waste of Luke Evans) has a complicated history, and once the murders start Sandler and Aniston find themselves caught up in the family’s affairs.
The plot, as was already apparent, is an obvious rip-off of every Agatha Christie novel, which gets rid of any substance that could have possibly arisen from the characters. Nobody in Murder Mystery feels like someone the audience should care for, they just feel like obstacles that Sandler is navigating just to get to his next crappy joke. And man are these jokes bad. It’s one thing if the plot has no originality or intrigue whatsoever, but I know what you’re thinking: The plot doesn’t matter because it’s a comedy–the audience is supposed to be laughing instead of thinking about the actual mystery. If the previous statement is true, then more effort should have been put into the jokes because nothing was remotely funny.
Every joke in this film felt as if Sandler and crew found it funny on set, but had trouble translating any of this humor to the actual screen. Entire chapters of the story fly by without one funny moment, to the point where I subconsciously started to wonder if I was watching a poorly crafted but serious mystery film. I can’t remember one joke I audibly looking back on it while writing this review, and this is a comedy I’m talking about. Us, a horror film, made me laugh far more than this did, which is a good example of just how unfunny Sandler’s films are. Sandler and Aniston try to have witty banter between each other throughout the movie, but it just comes across as forced and awkward despite their friendship being continually apparent. The jokes feel like they would be made at the MTV Movie and TV Awards by non-comedians who are trying to be funny before presenting an award, but who have also never told a joke in their lives.
There’s not much more to say with this one. It isn’t as painful to sit through as films such as The Do-Over, Jack and Jill or Sandy Wexler (two of which I couldn’t even finish) but that is hardly a silver lining. I don’t understand what the artistic purpose was here. It is easy to tell that no effort was put into the humor, so that can’t have been where the focus was. However, the plot and characters are just as manufactured. So why did they make this film? I’m getting the sense that Adam Sandler could make literally anything and it would do well on Netflix, and the filmmakers have been banking on this for a while now. Murder Mystery is another pointless Happy Madison product that everyone will forget about before the summer ends, just like they did the last five mediocre Sandler films. It never gets painfully bad, but nothing about this movie is good or memorable at all, which is almost worse.
I give Murder Mystery a D.