“Murder Mystery” is a comedy, and well….a mystery film that stars Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. James Vanderbilt is the writer of this latest effort to spoof my favorite genre while Kyle Newacheck is the reasonably competent director. Luke Evans, Gemma Arterton, and Terence Stamp are included in the cast.
A married couple take a somewhat impromptu trip to Europe to fulfill a promise that was made on their wedding date fifteen years before. Sandler plays Nick Spitz, a New York City cop who has some trouble getting promoted to detective while Aniston has the role of the hairdresser wife with a perfectly understandable love for murder mysteries. Adam Sandler basically does the kind of obnoxious, clueless character he usually performs. Spitz is one of these guys with no verbal filter who keeps making promises which he cannot quite deliver on. His wife, Audrey, is the likeable, ditzy sort who wants a bit more romance from her husband. I am not sure what she expected from marrying someone by the name of Nick Spitz and is as slovenly as most of Sandler’s roles. If one doesn’t examine the motivations too closely and rest them against…you know… reality, the pairing does rather work for this film. It’s probably because both of the lead stars have such profound record of comedic acting. This doesn’t seem too much of a stretch for either of them, but Aniston in particular was often quite good. I think she would be considered the straight man in this particular double act. She and Sandler do seem to have pretty believable chemistry for the most part, especially since she has mastered the art of exasperation. Sandler was Sandler. I had some trouble getting to like his character for quite a while.
The film itself was fine. There was nothing all that new under this particular sun. The plot dealt with lots of rich Europeans, a disputed inheritance, and familial betrayals. There was some location shots, and a pretty good car chase scene.
Not all of the jokes landed that well, but not all of them missed the mark either. Two practiced comedy veterans like Aniston and Sandler do help keep this movie from being a train wreck, but the writing and that sense of this being more of the same does keep it from being that memorable.
There is still some fun to be had with this film in spite of the cracks.