Movie Review Tag 1If prizes were given out for stupidity at the movies, Adam Sandler would be a contender. Possibly the most childish actor in Hollywood, he has simultaneously raised the status of farce and created laughter at his own expense. Even as a serious actor, Sandler plays the fool, and in Murder Mystery 2 he takes to the role like a detective on the case.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen Sandler in the part of Man Child (see: Murder Mystery 1), but it’s one of the few times he’s asked to be idiotic as well. While he’s known for his broad characters, this time he goes broader than usual, which doesn’t always work to the film’s benefit. Still, there is much to enjoy in this Netflix caper, and if you squint hard enough at the screen you may even convince yourself that you’re watching a Glass Onion reboot.

There’s all the elements of a Benoit Blanc riddle, just with a whole lot more banter thrown in the mix. When we catch up with Nick and Audrey Spitz (Sandler and Jennifer Aniston reprising their roles), they are private eyes with a penchant for arguing about their marriage. There’s a certain charm in watching the pair trade insults, as they’re given some of the best one-liners of their career, but there’s none of the emotional acuity that marked each actor’s previous work.

The story follows the couple’s vacation as they head to an island for a wedding. It’s a screen saver come to life, a mirage of open skies, crystal waters and pink flamingos wearing diapers so they don’t “crap” on the lawn. Along with the birds, there’s a number of things that feel off about this gathering, including a guest list that has all the suspects from the last film and a bride who comes from Paris (Melanie Laurent).

Sure enough, on the first night a man is stabbed to death and the groom (Adeel Akhtar) is kidnapped by terrorists. It’s up to the duo to track him down, or at least find out which of the guests has reason to take their friend hostage. There’s a clue involving Paris, so everyone heads over to Paname in search of answers. The hunt leads to more smiles than surprises, which is what gives Jeremy Garellick’s film an identity crisis. The script can’t decide whether it wants to be informal or intense.

Whodunnits are supposed to be a mix of tension and escapism, but this one tries to throw in a dose of comedy, and wavers between the tones like a rusty seesaw. That kind of faltering is a problem with other aspects of the movie, too. There’s a twist that feels out of place, a lack of energy in the chases and a void of coherence in the transitions. The entire thing feels like an outline of a movie without the actual plans.

The film also veers into low-brow territory, relying heavily on poop jokes and trotting out some truly awful gags about people who can’t afford to feed their families. Those jokes, alas, are representative of a comedic actor who continues to choose raunch over respectability. This kind of comedy definitely has an audience, and Sandler has achieved success with it; he was just acknowledged with The Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. But we’d prefer to see him trying new things instead of doing the same old shtick.





















































































































































































































































































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