Nearly 31 million people tuned in to watch Adam Sandler’s latest release ‘Murder Mystery’. It may be popular, but is it any good?
It was about midway through Murder Mystery, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, that I realised why I was enjoying myself so much.
A who-dun-it based on Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express, Sandler and his ensemble cast make no effort to pretend this is high-art. Murder Mystery revels in clichés and embraces its formulaic structure. But, it’s also silly, laid-back, and easy viewing.
This probably explains why the movie’s been enjoying so much success, having smashed Netflix’s opening weekend records and pulling in close to 31 million viewers, despite almost universal dismissal from critics.
Sandler’s productions exist in a self-aware bubble of mediocrity; he knows it’s pretty low-brow stuff, but so too does his audience. This approach works wonders for the Netflix era, where homely, comfortable actors and storylines are only a click away.
Murder Mystery’s two stars, Aniston and Sandler, are TV veterans – well established but ageing stars that appeal across generations of viewers. Mix that with an easy-to-follow plot that’s already familiar and you’ve got a guaranteed hit.
It doesn’t matter that it’s not particularly good. Nobody is really going into this film expecting something spectacular. The film’s self-aware, one dimensional comedy pokes fun at itself, like an hour and a half long SNL skit that manages to be endearing in its consistently light tone.
We’re the third wheel to Jennifer and Adam’s adventure – all 30 million of us – and the throwaway goofiness of it all only adds to the appeal.
Is it worth a watch?
If you’re looking for an actual, high-quality crime drama then it’s probably best you skip this one. For those looking for a borderline parody of Agatha Christie’s famous novel, with European and American culture clashing, then this is undoubtedly for you. Plus, Jennifer Aniston leads a car chase, what more could you want?
David Walliams, Luke Evans, Gemma Arterton, and Dany Boon all make appearances and the production level is what you’ve mostly likely come to expect from a Netflix special. Sandler and Aniston’s characters are pretty thinly developed, and the majority of the film feels like the two are simply playing themselves in an absurdist pantomime.
Essentially, if you go into Murder Mystery expecting an inoffensive Sandler romp then your needs will be wholly satisfied. The success it’s enjoying is a testament to the widespread appeal of a tried and tested formula, one that is boosted by Netflix’s focus on easy viewing content.
I’m certain we can expect plenty more from Sandler in the future, most of which will be as soft and predictable as Murder Mystery. Yet, oddly, I’m totally okay with that. Not all television has to be the most ground-breaking production, and it can be refreshing to not take everything so seriously.
I’m Charlie (He/Him), the Editor In Chief at Thred. I studied English at the University of Birmingham and as a music and gaming enthusiast, I’m a nerd for pop culture. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn and drop me some ideas/feedback via email.
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