Murder Mystery 2 is no Glass Onion: A Knives Story, but it’s a joyous time, nevertheless. In the same way that the first film wasn’t an aces success for sharp storytelling or innovative comedy, the second follows in its footsteps, trying to be even funnier but ultimately succeeding because of the romance. It is a truth universally acknowledged that if Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler star in a film together, then there’s no way it won’t be colossally entertaining.
The sequel harps on the romance a little more than the original, making it that much more charming as it draws focus on weddings, mayhem, and a whole lot of revelations. It’s not just Nick and Audrey’s romance at the forefront, but Claudet (Melanie Laurent) and the Maharajah’s (Adeel Akhtar). And James Vanderbilt’s writing is relatively simple, predictable even at times (though still fun to excavate), but the strengths lie in the outright depictions of adoration.
Where movies like this seldom get to be silly and enjoyable, Murder Mystery 2 takes the reins of romance and runs with them, diving deep into overtly stating that these people love each other in every way possible. Perhaps the film’s funniest moments rely on Aniston and Sandler’s characters consistently being fish out of the water, yet simultaneously the shining examples of how couples should be for everyone around. The compliments left and right keep reminding viewers that they’re far from expert detectives and, nonetheless, that we shouldn’t ever underestimate them.
The film doesn’t ask to look closely or exhume complex matters as Glass Onion does with billionaires and politicians and their roles in the world. Rather, as much as money is at the center of this crime, the love Nick and Audrey share surpasses every bit of it. There’s an unmatched devotion in their romance that’s so unapologetically communicated that it makes every moment they’re on screen a joy, even when everything else is maybe a little surface-level.
Both films are worth diving into for the love stories if nothing else, but the second gives director Jeremy Garelick some action-packed, thoroughly engaging material to work with to show off his chops. It is also significantly more stunning than the first, and if we’d stayed at the scene of the wedding the entire time, without venturing into the Parisian streets, I wouldn’t have complained.
While Murder Mystery 2 might lack depth and a concrete theme to balance the narrative, Aniston and Sandler make it an undeniable delight worth watching. If nothing else, it’s a fun, quick escape on a weekend afternoon. The romance is fun, the set design is gorgeous, and the cinematography is solid. The film also features entertaining performances from John Kani, Jodie Turner-Smith, Kuhoo Verma, Enrique Arce, and Mark Strong, making the ensemble cast’s chemistry stand as one of its strong suits. It’s a joy ride through and through, even when it appears to be frustrating, because there’s a clear happy ending nestled at the crook of every dangerous cliffhanger. And if there’s another film, which there should be, then we’ll be seated for that too.
Murder Mystery 2 is now streaming on Netflix.