'Murder Mystery' Review: Is Jennifer Aniston And Adam Sandler's Re-Team Worth The Wait?

Murder Mystery Jennifer Aniston Audrey Spitz Adam Sandler Nick Spitz Netflix
When Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler collaborated on the incredibly entertaining comedy, “Just Go with It” in 2011, it seemed to mark the start of something. Sandler’s next ongoing co-star partnership. One that seemed prime to join the ranks of his long-standing screen pairing with Drew Barrymore.

Unfortunately, it took eight years before Adam Sandler reunited with Jennifer Aniston for Netflix’s “Murder Mystery.” Was it worth the wait? As someone who has highly anticipated their on-screen re-team for nearly a decade -- I think so.

“Murder Mystery” has its highs and lows. Luke Evans is not leveraged enough, and Adam Sandler's character, Nick, is a bit too buttoned-down. However, he and Jennifer Aniston continue to thrive with what they share on-screen. The sort of believable buddy friendship between men and women that often goes unseen in romantic comedies.

“Murder Mystery” is not really a romantic comedy in the genre's “falling-in-love” or “re-awakening” tradition. Aniston and Sandler’s characters have been married for 15 years. They are settled into domestic contentment with one another. Albeit, Aniston’s Audrey wants a little more spice to excite things. Well, she gets it when her husband (an NYPD officer) takes her on her much-demanded European vacation.

Not on the original agenda is what lends the Netflix caper its name: a murder mystery. This viewer was hoping for something a little more along the lines of Eugene Levy’s memorable 1992 dark comedy, “Once Upon a Crime.” What James Vanderbilt’s script delivers instead is an intriguing mystery with subtle comic highlights.

It is tough to call “Murder Mystery,” a comedy. Its characters find themselves in darkly humorous situations. Otherwise, this is not Adam Sandler’s usual brand of comic movie shenanigans. He actually plays the “straight man” to Jennifer Aniston’s more expressive character.

In many ways, though. You want to see more of the romance here. More of what came through in such a fantastic way between Aniston and Sandler nearly a decade ago in “Just Go with It.”

The breezy repartee they seemed to conjure so naturally. Comparatively, the duo's chemistry in “Murder Mystery” is more subdued than it was in their initial outing. Or at least, how I remember it.

Aside from a few kisses, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler's characters seem to have settled into a platonic realm. Romance does not last forever, real friendships do. If that is what “Murder Mystery” is trying to say with its characters' dynamic, I applaud it.

What still irks me a bit about the movie’s premise is that the desire of Jennifer Aniston’s Audrey remains a validated one. Whereas, the audience does not learn what grand gesture her husband would like to see her provide for him. Sadly, he is expected to be the only one doing the giving. Not the most well-balanced relationship.

As for the titular mystery in the movie, it is well-done. Truly tricky to figure out. Or at least, this viewer found it to be. The thing is, Audrey’s interest in mystery novels does seem a tad dated when pop culture is currently more transfixed on true crime than fiction.

Overall, “Murder Mystery” is a fun way to spend an hour-and-a-half. It offers a nice of blend of laughs and staycation vacation vibes. That said, it would have been great to see Adam Sandler get to be a bit freer in this one.

However, I think his ability to hold back here is proof of something those who have seen his spectacular work in “Spanglish” or “Click” already know. As a whole, he is exceptionally underrated as an actor.

Come for Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler’s on-screen re-team in “Murder Mystery,” stay for them and the mystery. Hopefully, it will not take another eight years for the duo to share the screen again. This viewer never bores of seeing them share it.

Rating: 7/10

Murder Mystery” is currently streaming on Netflix.

[Featured Image by Scott Yamano / Netflix]