Recently, Netflix sent a certain subsection of Film Twitter into a tizzy by proclaiming the streaming success of recent Adam Sandler release Murder Mystery. While the reaction was arguably more about the lack of transparency in streaming numbers – a topic that I recognise is probably important, but can’t bother to care about – it was also linked to a vestigial disdain towards Sandler’s half-assed brand of cinema.
Thing is, Murder Mystery is the rare contemporary Adam Sandler film to understand the appeal of contemporary Adam Sandler. Yeah, we all know he makes these films as much to travel the world with famous friends and attractive actresses as for the paycheque, but rather than overreaching for gross-out jokes better suited to Sandler’s early manchild persona, Murder Mystery anchors itself squarely in modern-day, sad-sack jean shorts Sandler.
Is it laugh-out-loud hilarious? Nah; honestly, its reheated murder mystery intrigue is more appealing than the jokes, which are mostly flat but rarely terrible. The niche that Murder Mystery neatly occupies is that of comfortable comedy, like a sixth season episode of a sitcom that used to be better. That’s gentle praise, but it makes for a perfect fit on a rainy weekday afternoon at home.