Summer is the perfect time for escapist entertainment. Netflix’s Murder Mystery, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston fits the bill. Forget those depressing headlines. Grab a friend, a large bucket of popcorn, and settle in to laugh – a lot. Ok, some of it is just plain silly, but so what? The plot is clever, the actors energized, and the breathtaking scenery in Monte Carlo and Italy will make you feel like you’ve been on a Mediterranean vacation. The film is available for viewing June 14 on Netflix.
As a couple who find themselves prime suspects in more than one murder, Sandler and Aniston morph into modern day versions of Nick and Nora Charles, the husband wife team played by William Powell and Myrna Loy in the 1930s Thin Man films. Sandler’s Nick Spitz, however, is no Nick Charles: Spitz can’t shoot straight and keeps failing the detective’s exam. Embarrassed, he lies to his wife, Audrey (Aniston), a hairdresser, boasting about the promotion and bump up in pay. No surprise, then, that Audrey pushes him to keep his promise to take her on a European vacation.
While on the plane, Audrey wanders into the first class section and meets a wealthy viscount, Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans), who invites the couple for a cruise on his uncle’s yacht. Nick and Audrey have some idea that they are walking into a difficult situation. Cavendish tells them that his fiancé, Suzi (Shioli Kutsuna), is now engaged to his elderly uncle, Malcolm (Terence Stamp), the octogenarian worth $80 billion. Onboard, they meet an eclectic collection of guests: Malcolm’s son, Tobias (David Walliams); an actress (Gemma Arterton); a race car driver (Luis Gerardo Mendez); a maharajah who raps (Adeel Akhtar); a ruthless colonel (John Kani); and his bodyguard (Olafur Darri Olafsson). When Malcolm arrives, he announces that he is rewriting his will, leaving everything to Suzi. But before he can sign, the lights go out and in the darkness someone stabs him with an ancient dagger. Tobias is the obvious suspect, but when he also is killed, suspicion turns to the interlopers: the Spitzs.
Will Nick and Audrey be able to clear their names? Will they be able to convince the dogged French detective, Inspector Laurent Delacroix (Dany Boon, channeling Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau) of their innocence?
The pool of suspects continues to grow smaller as the bodies pile up, a nod to Dame Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None. (There’s a more obvious tribute to Christie at the end of the film. Watch for it.)
Photo credit: Scott Yamano/Netflix