Much has been made about the return of Adam Sandler over the past few years. The comedian took the world by storm with Uncut Gems and kept the ball rolling with Hustle. At the same time, Jennifer Aniston relaunched her career with an award-winning lead performance in The Morning Show. Both stars have found renewed fandoms, and their 2019 Murder Mystery landed as a string of whodunits rolled out. A hit for Netflix, its no wonder a sequel found its way into production. Despite high hopes, Murder Mystery 2 feels stale compared to the many other mysteries in the wake of the original. Still, it entertains throughout and has another fun Sandler performance to anchor it.

(L-R) Jennifer Aniston as Audrey Spitz and Adam Sandler as Nick Spitz in Murder Mystery 2. Cr. Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2023.

Years after the first film, Murder Mystery 2 picks up with Audrey (Aniston) and Nick (Sandler) running a private eye business. Nick refuses to get certified, and Audrey feels stuck in their relationship (again). Their friend, the Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), invites them to his all-expenses-paid destination wedding. However, when the Maharajah’s kidnapped, Audrey and Nick work to solve the case.

The issues in Murder Mystery 2 began early on, as it begins to telegraph things that will come into play later in the story. This occurs throughout and gives this entry a more “paint-by-the-numbers” feel than the last one. The story becomes rather predictable early on, which robs it of any real stakes. Perhaps most frustrating of all, Aniston’s character receives almost no development from the last film. All the issues plaguing her in Murder Mystery return. Most specifically, she’s annoyed by Sandler. This upsets the dynamic here, as Aniston does not commit to fully being turned off by Sandler but becomes the stereotypical “nag” at the same time.

(L to R) Jodie Turner-Smith as Countess, Zurin Villanueva as Imani and Enrique Arce as Francisco in Murder Mystery 2. Cr. Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2023.

Meanwhile, Sandler commits to his character, and Murder Mystery 2 gets a boost. The same can be said for Akhtar and John Kahi, who both reprise roles from the entry. Kahi in particular, deals with more absurdity (that feels like Sandler-movie hijinks) but plays it straight. Small but surprisingly adept turns from Mélanie Laurent and Jodie Turner-Smith help sell the high-class world this time around. Mark Strong’s covert-ops hostage negotiator borders on parody. It’s not as good as Jason Statham in Spy, but it certainly creates similar dynamics.

The production values also get a bump. The interiors look far more accurate, while the costume budget gets a nice boost. A dance party sequence features dozens of extras singing and dancing in gorgeous costume work. This becomes a highlight and continues to surprise us when we get to Paris. However, the visual effects take a bit of a tumble, in part because they’re trying to play into a joke that makes little sense.

(L-R) Adam Sandler as Nick Spitz and Jennifer Aniston as Audrey Spitz in Murder Mystery 2. Cr. Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2023.

You mostly know what you get in an Adam Sandler vehicle on Netflix. It’s entertaining from the word go, and the cast gets to visit unfamiliar locations. Both are true here, and the comedy takes a step up. However, some predictable storylines and some frustrating rehash make it impossible to call this an improvement. Still, for a Friday night watch, you can do a lot worse.

Alan’s Rating: 6/10

What do you think of Murder Mystery 2? Let us know in the comments below! Stream Murder Mystery 2 on Netflix.

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