In the first Murder Mystery, NYPD officer Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler) and his wife Audrey (Jennifer Aniston), a hairdresser, were thrown face-first into a mystery during a vacation where only a few people died (Nick’s words, not mine).
Cut to four years later. The couple now has a (albeit unsuccessful) detective agency.
While they struggle to get their business going, the Spitzs get an invite to their friend Maharaja Vikram’s (Adeel Akhtar) wedding to a ‘Parisian shopgirl’ Claudette (Mélanie Laurent). Adeel finds the right goofy nerve required for his character and Mélanie is effortlessly charming and likable as Claudete.
Dressed to the nines in exquisite Indian wedding attire (cue a stunning Aniston in a Manish Malhotra lehenga), the couple meets the other characters in the film who soon become suspects – Vikram’s ex-fiancé Countess Sekou (Jodie Turner-Smith) and her assistant Imani (Zurin Villanueva), a creepy former footballer Francisco (Enrique Arce), and Vikram’s reliable protector and bodyguard Colonel Ulenga (John Kani). Another noteworthy introduction is that of Vikram’s clearly smarter sister Saira (Kuhoo Verma).
It’s refreshing to watch an Indian wedding in a Hollywood film that isn’t laughable at best and offensive at worst.
Every character is perfectly cast except Jodie Turner-Smith and Zurin deserved more substantial roles for the stakes that they bring to the story.
Like the first, Murder Mystery 2 is chaotic, extravagant, often senseless fun. Director Jeremy Garelick’s decision to never take the film seriously and constantly call out the genre’s cliches only to play into them is brilliant.
Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler bring the star value that a film like this needs to keep the audience hooked when the chaos is at a minimum or when the viewer is expected to suspend all belief. The film’s primary flaw would be its reliance on flash and aplomb.
The ‘murder’ and the ‘mystery’ parts of the film sometimes come off a little juvenile and leave little to the imagination.
It’s in these moments that the cast saves the film, holding a rapidly unraveling plot and mystery together.
There’s also a consistent reluctance to introduce any shades of gray to the main characters. It’s hinted that their business failures are affecting their marriage but forget that, there is little to no actual conflict between the two characters.
One wonders if both this and the Jennifer Lopez-starrer Shotgun Wedding would’ve been better films if they’d somehow melded together into one; considering the latter’s character work and the former’s grasp of nonsense.