“Murder Mystery 2” answers the question “What could be more disposable than ‘Murder Mystery?,” a 2019 action-comedy pairing of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston that nevertheless racked up big viewing numbers for Netflix. The sequel charitably shoots for a sort of more violent “The Thin Man” vibe, but about the best one can say for the movie is that it’s mercifully short.
Sandler and Aniston’s Nick and Audrey Spitz (and if you think there’s not going to be a gag about what their name rhymes with, you must be new here) have formed their own detective agency since the events of the first movie, but the business is struggling, and they’re bickering more because of it. The two thus jump at the opportunity to attend a destination wedding on an island paradise thrown by the Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), who is marrying Claudette (Mélanie Laurent, like most of the supporting cast, deserving better), who has “trophy wife” written all over her.
When the Maharajah gets kidnapped Nick and Audrey leap into detective mode, which winds up taking them and the key guests to Paris, adding to the travelogue aspect without doing anything to help with the paper-thin plot.
“Murder Mystery” might be the epitome of what amounts to a “Netflix movie,” which is to say that as long as you’re paying for a subscription already, it’s not much of a gamble (other than 80-some-odd minutes of your time) to punch up a “You might like” title with stars you’ve enjoyed in the past.
Yet that’s also indicative of the cynical way in which this sequel has seemingly been thrown together, despite attracting the likes of Laurent and Mark Strong to help class up the joint. The near-four-year gap between movies does help in one respect, allowing people to largely forget what left them unimpressed about the original.
Indeed, it’s oddly appropriate that one of the longer comedy bits involves Nick trying to prolong a ransom call so the authorities can trace it, mangling words and pretending he can’t hear to keep the kidnapper talking.
While there’s not much deeper meaning in “Murder Mystery 2,” consider that an apt metaphor for a project where everyone pretty much seems to be just phoning it in.
“Murder Mystery 2” premieres March 31 on Netflix.