I am not an Adam Sandler fan. I’ve never thought he was funny and almost all of his films are just very juvenile and seem desperate for laughs. While Sandler doesn’t have good rapport with me, Jennifer Aniston does. I’ve always loved Aniston because of the natural charm and lovability she brings to the screen. I took a chance on this because I was excited to see what she would do with this kind of premise. I’m both happy and very surprised to say that Murder Mystery is actually a really fun time.
Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler have a very natural chemistry, and while the two of them as a couple may seem strange, it really does work. I thought it worked in Just Go With It and it works even better here. You just buy that they love each other and that believable chemistry is very important in this film. It ends up being them against the world so without that chemistry, the whole things falls apart.
Jennifer Aniston gives a skilled performance and really shows off her comedic timing, she elicits the majority of the laughs. Sandler does have a few moments where his comedy works, but if I’m being honest, this is more Jennifer’s film than his. Luke Evans plays one of the main supporting roles and does a nice job with it. He was the perfect choice to play the rich, good looking stranger with a streak of mystery.
Gemma Arterton plays another one of the supporting characters and she was absolutely fantastic, really suited the role, and was able to play it with ease. Really solid performances all around. The comedy is much better here than in most Sandler films, and again, most of the laughs come from Aniston. There’s a very noticeable difference in both the comedy and just the overall feel when this is compared to the other Happy Madison films. This one doesn’t have the mean spirited, juvenile tone hanging over it. As I was watching I just kept thinking how refreshing it was to see this change. Who knows, maybe this is Adam Sandler realizing that with some effort, his films don’t have to feel like they came straight out of a middle school boys mind.
I even liked the murder mystery they found themselves in. Of course it’s a comedy first, but the layout of the whodunnit part isn’t lazy by any means. I will say that I thought I knew what the outcome would be, but I second guessed myself and even when I turned out to be right, the film slipped one last surprise in. I of course realize that no one is wondering how well the mystery is laid out with an Adam Sandler film, but it’s worth praising that they kept that side entertaining. The pacing is another big positive here, things never feel uneven or off, each chapter/section is given just enough time. I was never bored, nor did I feel as if they cut things too short. It’s an hour and a half and that’s just right.
To be honest the only downside I can come up with is that I wish the comedy that landed came a bit more often, but other than that I don’t have many complaints. If Adam Sandler is going to continue to make films, and I’m sure that he will, then I plead with him to abandon the formula that gave us the pile of [censored] that is his recent filmography. Make more films like this! So to all the people like me who are thinking why should I give him another chance? Here’s why: because Murder Mystery is the one thing you’d never expect an Adam Sandler film to be…. FUN!