07 July 2019

Murder Mystery – Spare Me

Thanks to a couple of friends, I’ve been indulging in one of John Floyd’s favorite passions– NetFlix. How could I resist a movie called Murder Mystery? How could I not document it for SleuthSayers?
Murder Mystery: Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler
Murder Mystery: Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler
The Premise

A marriage-worn New York couple finds their relationship  declining and disintegrating if not quite out. Thus starts the film on a squirmingly uncomfortable note. He’s an NYPD street cop who keeps failing the detective exam and lies about it to his wife. She’s a beautician who casually derides her husband. Then in a whiplash moment, he abruptly takes her on a long-promised trip to Europe.

Part of the ersatz humor comes from the stereotypical bumbling of uncouth Americans staggering around foreign countries. He’s the Cleveland jacket type, the working man who only dresses up for temple or church or mosque with his favorite colorful plaid or checked sports coat. Naturally they wear their Sunday best to Europe. Except those moments when Sandler chooses to wear sloppy clothes to dinner.

They bump into the fabulously wealthy set, whereupon death, destruction, and tired hilarity ensue. Solving the crime and saving their own asses bring them closer together, whereupon kissy-face romance re-ignites. More scripted hilarity ensues.

Emergency! Emergency! Kissing Coach to the set!

For a film rife with yachts, planes, trains, and automobiles, it’s awfully pedestrian. The real mystery is why a catatonic Adam Sandler murdered the movie. My least favorite SNL comic, he seemed to come into his own in movies, often silly, but he proved he could seriously act in Spanglish.

Unfortunately, he brought none of the warmth he’s capable of to Murder Mystery. His chemistry with his costar registered at the low end of the Kelvin scale. Dude, if you’re going to be kissing Jennifer Aniston, put some damn effort in it. Sheesh. Act like you might possibly maybe under the right circumstances kinda sorta enjoy it.

Wait. Back up a moment.

This movie is so sloppy, anyone with a passing familiarity of Europe’s cities and airports will quickly realize the movie is riddled with impossible geographic errors. Málaga is not in Italy; Milano is not in Monaco, and… How did they get to Montreal? In all these places, people drive on the right in left-hand-drive cars, same as North America. The embarrassing question enquiring minds want to know:
  • Were the filmmakers too stupid to notice?
  • Did they think Americans too stupid to notice?
The Abbott and Costello School of Motoring

Speaking of cars, we’re asked to leap a huge chasm of disbelief– that New Yorkers who’ve spent a lifetime not driving and have never seen a clutch or stick shift can suddenly pilot a Ferrari Testarossa left manual 7-speed gear shift at high speeds. R-i-i-i-i-ght, as Bill Cosby might intone.

Author’s Saturday shopping car, disbelief suspension

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

That said, two jots of humor bear mention. Sandler’s character is a terrible pistol marksman but, channeling Goldfinger’s Oddjob, he unleashes his deadly accurate frisbee arm. Viewers brace for timid, tentative tee-hee.

The Tourist: Angelina Jolie
The Tourist: Angelina Jolie
The single funny moment in this one-hundred crawlingly long minute ‘comedy’ brings the chase scene to a close, a visual joke. Actual chuckles ensue.

The final scene brings us back to the nearly forgotten title in a faint nod to Agatha Christie. Promoters are talking about a sequel, Murder Mystery II. Is this final scene where it starts?

Start to finish, the movie plays like a Pink Panther episode on valium. If you want to see how an American on the run in Europe film should be made, visit The Tourist (2010). It combines a Hitchcock flair with a stunning Angelina Jolie who seems to grow more beautiful with the years.

Murder Mystery 👎👎
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ ‘meh’


  1. It's funny, Leigh. Amy was looking for a movie for us to watch. She mentioned Murder Mystery. I told her to check out your SS column last night. She did. We watched something else.

    This was ridiculous with the captcha stuff or whatever it's called. I had to go through about 7 screens before I could post.

  2. Thank you for sparing me from Murder Mystery! BTW, I've always thought of "The Tourist" as a guilty pleasure - I did enjoy it, even though it often seemed more like a fashion shoot than a story.

  3. Leigh--Thanks for the warning. And for the recommendation--I've not yet seen The Tourist.

    Great post!

  4. Leigh, thanks for the warning though I actually think Adam Sandler is cute though not my favorite old SNL comedian.

  5. "meh" is too high a praise for this dud. I have a strong stomach but even I had to bail.

  6. Paul, just one of the services you and I provide! Before I actually saw it, I'd hoped to tell others about an enjoyable flick, but it was not to be.

    Sorry you went through such grief with the commenting routine, but know you're not alone. Sometimes those picture-pick things seem to run forever when you're trying to use a mobile device. In the old days, we were lucky if Blogger deigned to share comments at all.

    Eve, I know what you mean. The Tourist had a Jackie Kennedy / Grace Kelly fashion feel to it. Still, it was lovely revisiting the era.

    John, my work is done. The last 5-10 minutes contains the car chase visual joke and the final few seconds reveals the Agatha homage, but I don't think even that's worth it.

    Fran! I sense what you mean about Adam Sandler. He is engaging when he opens a window to his softer side.

    Jerry, strong stomach indeed. I hope we can save others!

  7. Oy gevalt. Adam Sandler is not one of my favorites, but last night the husband & I watched a different Adam Sandler movie on Netflix, "The Do-Over". Evidently he has a deal with Netflix for 4 films, don't ask me why. Most of "The Do-Over" is almost unbelievably disgusting & the characters are horrible ... however, there is a subplot about a cure for cancer that actually works. Too bad it doesn't exist. I would have never watched this except that I lost an argument with hubby 😵

  8. I got 10 minutes into it and gagged. The wife says, about the trip, WHILE THEY ARE IN THE AIRPORT (as I recall) "Really? Can we afford it?" Like she has no idea about their finances at all. What is this - the 60s?
    And I had such high hopes. Need a comic caper/mystery these days. Things are getting too heavy.

  9. Thanks for the warning Leigh! Wish it was better. After all these lame super hero flicks, I could use a good rom com.

  10. Elizabeth, your husband drives a hard bargain! Prompted by your comment, I just read about The Do-Over. 10% Rotten Tomatoes rating? The plot sounds intriguing, but how hard do you have to work to earn 10%! My SNL instincts suggested he wasn't that funny to begin with. Perhaps he should stick with drama, like Spanglish.

    Melodie, maybe you should submit your story lines to movie studios. I've read some of yours and they're decidedly better than what Happy Maddison is making.

    Larry, I too tire of all those superhero movies. Next we'll be watching SuperDog or some such. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind a dose of Mighty Mouse.

  11. Those movie makers seemed to have problems with geographic M-words. I reckon us lucky they didn't adventure the couple in Macao or Moscow.

    Wasn't Adam's wife on the set? Maybe he curbed his passion out of deference to her.

  12. Thank you for frugal American state from mystery story. And also thanks for the warning though' I truly suppose Adam Sandler is cute though' not my favorite previous SNL comedian.

  13. This motion picture is so messy, anybody with a passing recognition of Europe's urban communities and air terminals will rapidly understand the film is loaded with inconceivable geographic mistakes. Rock Star Jackets


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