Murder Mystery

Mention the phrase ‘an Adam Sandler movie’, all sorts of ideas come to mind. Many of them aren’t good considering the very broad style of comedy he uses. When he decides to give a strong performance, such as in ‘Punch Drunk Love’ and ‘Uncut Gems’, he can deliver the goods. Unfortunately he doesn’t do enough of that, mostly content in appearing in low-thinking works such as ‘Murder Mystery’. Nowhere in the same league as other comedy mysteries, ‘Murder Mystery’ offers miniscule mirth on a scale only Sandler can provide.

Nick (Adam Sandler) and Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) are a married couple enjoying a long-delayed honeymoon. On a plane to Europe, they meet wealthy stranger Charles (Luke Evans). Inviting them to him on his elderly Billionaire Uncle’s yacht, Nick and Audrey look forward to a fun time. None of that materialises when Charles’ Uncle is murdered. Framed for the crime, Nick and Audrey go on the run while trying to figure out “whodunnit”. With their honeymoon anything but magical, they come to realise that striving for marital bliss can sometimes be murder.

‘Murder Mystery’ is one of those films where you sit in the audience smiling and waiting to laugh. A few moments of genuine guffaws eventuate but not enough. The direction and writing is bland, with little imagination gone into crafting something new. The genres clichés pile up although ‘Murder Mystery’ has some fun scenes making it more bearable than other Sandler vehicles.

Although the story is mediocre, the performers seem to enjoy tackling the threadbare material. Sandler and Aniston share good comedic timing, with Aniston a consistently strong leading lady. The Italian locations are by far the film’s best asset. The chases and mayhem through its streets are wonderfully photographed, ensuring ‘Murder Mystery’ is a pleasure to watch in that sense.

There have been worse Adam Sandler movies with ‘Murder Mystery’ falling somewhere in the middle. Neither fish nor fowl, it’s an inoffensive, bland comedy with few laughs thrown in. Any creative failures won’t stop Sandler making these types of films with death, taxes and more Sandler productions a certainty in life’s strange cycle.

Rating out of 10: 4


Coming 2 America

‘Coming 2 America’ is the sequel to the 1988 Eddie Murphy hit, almost similarly called ‘Coming to America’. It’s the occasional movie miracle Eddie Murphy creates, given how infrequently he makes sequels. He rarely makes any movies these days with any new ones something to note. When he wants, Murphy can give a fantastic performance although ‘Coming 2 America’ sees him slide into familiar territory. His comedic skills are still intact as this late in the day follow-up shows in outlandish style.

After his father dies, Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) becomes King of an African nation. Whilst he has three daughters, he doesn’t have a son to inherit the throne. Because of that, his position comes under threat from wicked General Izzi (Wesley Snipes). Learning he has a son in New York, from a liaison on his first visit, Akeem and his trusted aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) travel to meet him. Friends old and new cause a multitude of mishaps for Akeem as he struggles to hold his kingdom together.

‘Coming 2 America’ is mostly what you’d expect from an Eddie Murphy flick. Sometimes, rude, occasionally crude with political correctness taking a holiday, ‘Coming 2 America’ is generally fun. If you go expecting Shakespeare then you’re not amongst its target audience as it goes from one ridiculous escapade to the next. Time has muted Murphy’s savage wit a little but it’s still there if you look for it. Craig Brewer does his best to direct proceedings and control Murphy’s excess with fair results.

The biggest plus ‘Coming 2 America’ has is its visuals. It looks like a live action comic-book, very glossy with lots of colour and movement. That’s almost enough to cover the predictable screenplay and occasional over-acting. There aren’t any deep messages, just dopey escapism and eye-rolling puns. It’s clever enough to make jokes at its expense with comments on sequels proving fortuitous.

There’s not much more that can be said about ‘Coming 2 America’. It’s a slice of harmless escapist hokum Murphy does well. With the long-delayed ‘Beverly Hills Cop 4’ apparently his next project, it’s good seeing Eddie Murphy back on screens with his brand of humour needed in these sometimes dark days.

Rating out of 10: 7