Friday, July 12, 2019

Murder Mystery (2019)

Movie Name/Year: Murder Mystery (2019)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Vinson Films, Endgame Entertainment, Happy Madison Productions, Tower Hill Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Kyle Newacheck
Writer: James Vanderbilt
Actors: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans, Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton, David Walliams, Dany Boon, John Kani, Adeel Akhtar, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Shioli Kutsuna, Erik Griffin, Sufe Bradshaw, Jackie Sandler, Andrea Dolente

Blurb from IMDb: A New York cop and his wife go on a European vacation to reinvigorate the spark in their marriage, but end up getting framed and on the run for the death of an elderly billionaire.

Selina’s Point of View:
I don’t like to go into a film with expectations of any kind. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. I want to go in to every movie with an open mind and no clue if I’ll like it. That wasn’t in the cards for this one.

I went into Murder Mystery expecting a bad night. Happy Madison Productions is responsible for a few decent films, but the majority are pretty rough, especially lately. I tried as hard as could to watch it with a clean slate, but after The Week Of (2018), I just couldn’t. I’ve seen that production company take a great idea and turn it into crap too many times.

This time, I was pleasantly surprised.

Murder Mystery was awesome.

All the issues I had with The Week Of were corrected for this film. You still see a huge amount of that boyish Adam Sandler humor, but it’s evolved enough that the movie still works. I found myself relating to the main character even when Sandler was being ridiculous – which is all I ever wanted from his stuff. It’s why his earlier films worked and a lot of his newer stuff doesn’t. There was a balance between the ridiculous and the relatable.

The best way to describe this movie is to say it’s like dropping your basic married American couple into the middle of an Inspector Clouseau story.

I really do believe that I’m going to be watching this film again and I am so glad that it turned out as good as it was. I want to see more like this from Adam Sandler.

For the first time in a long time, I look forward to the next one.

Cat’s Point of View:
I seem to have some sort of compulsion to want to give Adam Sandler (Hotel Transylvania, Pixels, The Week Of) movies the benefit of the doubt. Odds are that some of them might actually turn out worth the time spent watching them, right? He’s prolific enough that playing the long game with those statistics feels like it might pay off.

How’s that working for me? Well…so-so I guess.

While Murder Mystery may have set new Netflix records for its first few days post-release, I can’t say that it’s even close to being a favorite for any of its genres of comedy or mystery.

That being said, it was fine. There were aspects of the film that I really enjoyed. Frankly, Jennifer Aniston (Marley & Me, Horrible Bosses, Storks) saved the movie for me. I could really relate to her character on multiple levels. I loved her unabashed fan-girling over the mystery scenario and how her mystery-geek knowledge works into the narrative in both funny and harrowing moments.

Sandler’s character drove me crazy – and not in a good way. I was just cringing almost every time he did something. I could viscerally relate to Aniston’s character’s embarrassment at her husband’s behavior. November of 2019 will mark the auspicious occasion of my 20th wedding anniversary. I have a deep level of understanding of where she’s coming from.

I do wish there was a bit more of Terence Stamp’s (The Adjustment Bureau, Bitter Harvest, Crooked House) presence in the movie, but alas the plot. His character was rather well cast. Honestly, I couldn’t fault any of the casting choices. I am even slightly giddy about the little real-world relationship Easter Eggs among the cast members. You can find that info out on IMDb, though. It’s not my point here. 

Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture, I do realize that I generally enjoyed this movie, even if it didn’t have much to do with Sandler’s involvement. I am not sure that I’d watch it again, but I’m intrigued enough by the ending to be willing to anticipate a sequel.  

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 45%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 40%
Metascore – 38/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.6/10
IMDB Score – 6.0/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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