Netflix’s ‘Murder Mystery 2’ is a Wonderful Advertisement for Indian Bridal Couture
- Bollywood themes are becoming mainstream these days and everyone is trying to cash in on the happy formula of an Indian wedding sequence.
I enjoyed the original “Murder Mystery” because of Jennifer Anniston and her unforgettable role as the slightly ditzy but loveable Rachel in the iconic TV series “Friends.” Adam Sandler has grown on me over the years from the kind-hearted charmer in the “Wedding Singer” to a desperate hustler in New York’s diamond district in “Uncut Gems.”
In addition, Sandler recently received the Mark Twain award for American humor. To see him toasted and roasted by his colleagues spoke volumes of his kindness and camaraderie. I realized the secret of Sandler’s success was in how he treated his friends, and the self-confidence instilled in him at an early age by his family. This revelation made me like him even more. Because of these factors, I was happy to set my watch for March 31 to view and enjoy “Murder Mystery 2.”
Produced by Adam Sandler James Vanderbilt, Jennifer Aniston, James D. Stern, Julie Goldstein, Tripp Vinson, et al, “Murder Mystery 2” showcases the return of Nick Spitz, (an ex-NYC police officer) and his wife Audry, who are trying to launch their private detective agency. We remember that their initial attempts of solving the crime in “Murder Mystery” were chaotic and fraught with failure, but they are “footloose,” optimistic and have friends in “high places” to foot their travel expenses.
This time, the charming couple is invited to a grand wedding of their friend, the Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar) on a tropical island. Like last time Audrey and Nick are outsiders in a foreign land where people mispronounce the very German last name, but they make up for it by their intentional/or otherwise American Faux pas, to the overwhelming display of wealth and privilege. They are good at this kind of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. It is in their comfort zone, and it works.
The maharajah’s wedding is phenomenal. The scenes remind me of wedding sequences of “Jodha Akbar,” “Tom and Jerry” and my own wedding (no one got kidnapped or murdered.) Anniston looks stunning in her swarovski embellished chikankari in Manish Malhotra’s white lehenga (I would have lost the tassel on the blouse) but the groom’s bodyguard does not look very “alive.”
Amid the “much too soon” murder conducted by an instrument from the charcuterie board, the Maharajah is kidnapped. Whodunit? The suspects include the bride Claudette (Melanie Laurent), a Parisian shopgirl and a wonderful dancer, an ex-girlfriend named wearing a massive choker, Countess Sekou (Jodie Turner-Smith), the sister Saira with kohled “dark” eyes (Kuhoo Verma), a philandering business partner named Francisco (Enrique Arce), and an ace negotiator named Miller (Mark Strong).
The very inebriated/ or drugged Spitzes are truly nonplussed by the murder-kidnapping, but they know that there may be a second murder.
Soon the Spitzes are racing through the streets of Paris with $60 million ransom money and wrapping themselves carelessly around the Eiffel Tower.
Anniston’s easy-going chemistry with Sandler helps the viewers to bond with the “familiar couples” dynamics in really far-fetched encounters and break-neck car chases. The narrative is very sparse. There are no complex characters. No character development. A few oddballs reminiscent of the characters from the board game “Clue” are thrown at the viewers (remember Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock…) on a Caribbean island without any introductions or déjà vu.
There is nothing to do but latch on to the Spitzes and navigate through the melodrama, attached to their coattails. The story reminds me a bit of the “Hera Pheri” type of movie. Although the jokes exchanged between Akshay Kumar, Suneil Shetty and Paresh Rawal are zanier. I wonder if the writer James Vanderbilt borrowed from the Bollywood script.
Director Jeremy Garelick’s formula is to throw his lead actors and the slurry of supporting cast with an elephant, Bollywood-style dancers, musicians and the kitchen sink into an over-the-top fight scene in a speeding van, and leave it to there for the acting instincts “to kick in.”
The masked villain and the hurtle in a crime scene van that lumbers along the streets of Paris at night catches fire and explodes. The result is ha-ha funny but nothing to write home about or share with your bestie over a glass of wine.
Mrs. Spitz sets fire to her huge white fur coat but Mr. Spitz puts it off with his large bear hug. Predictable but okay. The best part is that “Murder Mystery 2” entertains for 90 minutes, and it fizzles out. Even so, it took longer than that to finish it.
I started watching the movie in California, watched some on my flight home and caught the last few minutes of the action when the murder was solved in Alabama. I really was not blown away when Anniston caught the culprit and cracked the big clue drawing from her experience as a hairdresser. But her ex-cop husband was highly impressed.
I liked how Bollywood themes are becoming mainstream these days and everyone is trying to cash in on the happy formula of an Indian wedding sequence. But there’s more to Indian heritage than what meets the eye in Bollywood movies.
Regardless, “Murder Mystery 2” is a wonderful advertisement for Indian bridal couture.
In summary, it’s time-pass, pedestrian, slapstick comedy. Nothing mind-blowing like an Agatha Christie murder mystery. But a heads up…there may be a “Murder Mystery 3.” I hope it is a bit more cerebral because the pandemic is over. Sandler and Aniston, please lend me your ears: “We need to be challenged while we are being entertained.”
“Murder Mystery 2” is streaming on Netflix.
With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published hundreds of poems, movie reviews, book critiques, and essays and contributed to combined literary works. Her two books are My Light Reflections and Flow through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM.
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