Rating: 3 out of 5.

Marking the third collaboration between Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston after the first Murder Mystery and Just Go With It, Murder Mystery 2 arrives in a landscape where whodunnit cinema spectaculars Glass Onion, Bodies Bodies Bodies, and Scream VI have recently debuted to great fanfare. Expecting the unexpected is the new norm. Audiences are becoming obsessed with deconstructing these types of stories to try to solve their resolutions well before they arrive. The best mysteries are those laid out before the viewer all along, begging them to go back and rewatch so they can follow the various twists and turns. Murder Mystery 2 is no such movie—knowing what Sandler and Aniston bring to the table and the body of work director Jeremy Garelick has made (The Wedding Ringer, The Binge), viewers should expect many laughs, preposterous situations, and trademark Sandler humor in equal measure. An elevated whodunnit this is not; I found myself won over by its familiar vibes.

Murder Mystery 2 arrives in an entirely different landscape than 2019’s debut entry, pre-pandemic. I struggled to remember many major details about that film; thankfully, this presents a brief recap of those events that left several dead, and Nick (Sandler) and Audrey (Aniston) deciding to start their own detective agency. As a sassy narrator tells us in the beginning, this venture really has not been going well. Placing their life savings into private investigating probably felt like the most correct decision, but Nick and Audrey are so on edge that they have been praying for a miracle—in this case, that translates to wishing that someone close to them would be killed. Seemingly on cue, their good friend, Vik the Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), calls up Nick and Audrey to announce his wedding. He insists that they come to a private island for an all-expenses-paid getaway leading up to the big day!

Remembering everything that went wrong the last time around, the duo is hesitant for only a moment before realizing a picturesque getaway could be exactly what they need right now. Weddings favors include brand-new iPhones and Air Jordans, shocking Nick especially who also cannot stop eating the delicious cheese platter. Naturally, with the two of them present, how could this wedding be anything but a disaster? During the rehearsal dinner, the Maharajah’s new bodyguard gets murdered, while the Maharajah himself is kidnapped and held for ransom! Bringing $70 million in bonds to Paris by 8pm that night may not be as easy as it sounds.

The alluring, infamous Miller (Mark Strong) arrives quickly on the scene to help solve the crime and recover their friend without incident, but Nick and Audrey would rather take things into their own hands. Accidental murder, lots of gunfire, and soaring locations from Paris, France color Murder Mystery 2 with the proper shades of vibrant red. What follows is an increasingly ridiculous but always entertaining romp wherein Nick and Audrey must work together to somehow retrieve the Maharajah, uncover the identity of the kidnapper, and bring him to justice.

Writer James Vanderbilt (who also co-penned both 2022’s Scream and its followup Scream VI) plays with mystery tropes and dials up the rom-com vibes. It certainly helps that Sandler and Aniston continue to have fiery chemistry with one another, convincingly portraying a bickering middle-aged couple desperate to conquer another wildly outrageous scenario. Murder Mystery 2 is fun and a little ridiculous, just as it should be. Not content as a simple rehash, the action shifts from a European vacation and ode to the whodunnits of the past into decidedly more modern times without losing any of its trademark quirkiness. A cliffhanger ending seems to indicate a Murder Mystery 3 isn’t just a possibility, but an inevitability.

Prepare to solve a fresh mystery when Murder Mystery 2 debuts exclusively to Netflix on Friday, March 31st.

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