Old-fashioned movie star charm filches a goofy, likable movie that employs a New York couple in the middle of a European whodunnit

Adam Sandler’s horrible eight-movie deal with Netflix arrived as both a blessing and a blaspheme for those who had actually tolerated any of his last-place eight self-produced theatrical releases. While it allowed most of us to simply pretend he had stopped working( moments for anyone who’s even is conscious of what Sandy Wexler is ), it also allowed him to continue constituting the same films that even his most impassioned devotees had stopped buying tickets for. His streaming yield has been predictably, punishingly unfunny up until now, and one would safely expect the same from his latest, which reunites him with Jennifer Aniston, who starred with him in 2011′ s execrable romcom Just Go With It.

But while that movie couldn’t capitalise on its big star pairing, their second attempt, the crudely entitled Murder Mystery, is a far more satisfying experience, a astonishingly agile summer comedy that encounters both Aniston and Sandler at their most attractiveness. They star as a married couple living a rather staid life in New York: he’s Nick, a policeman pretending he’s a detective while she’s Audrey, his unaware hairdresser wife who pines for more fiction. He owes her a European honeymoon and on their 15 th anniversary, he ultimately caves and the pair head abroad for a much-needed getaway. But after Audrey befriends a suave playboy( Luke Evans ), they find themselves invited to a sumptuous yacht party hosted by a billionaire( Terence Stamp) who soon turns up dead, leaving the couple as prime suspects.

Originally slated to whiz Charlize Theron with Shakespeare in Love’s John Madden at the helm, Murder Mystery might now be arriving in a far less glamorous pack, ushered in by the director of Game Over, Man !, but there’s a propulsive watchability that still makes it fly. It starts on rocky ground with attributes defining themselves in clumsily wide-ranging blows and the dialogue “il rely on” sitcom-level gender stereotypes( in one background a group of women complain about their spouses not doing the foods enough) but once the couple’s in the air, things smooth out significantly. The script, from the Zodiac and White House Down screenwriter James Vanderbilt, is zippy and relatively smart, playing like a fast-paced mix of Game Night and Manhattan Murder Mystery. Aniston’s persona is haunted with trashy mystery tales with claims such as RSVP Murder and produces a self-awareness to the Clue-style drama that undoes around them. Both she and Sandler are comfortably in their wheelhouses but while this has led them both to coast on autopilot in the past, here they’re able to confidently lean into their movie star charm.

Nothing here is a great stretch for either, but that’s sort of the plea and it’s a pleasure to watch two wizards aware of what an audience wants from them without taking this knowledge for conceded. They’re playing up to their quintessential categories but in a way that never feels phoned in, and there’s a lived-in married couple chemistry that obliges their bickering believably spiky. Unlike in previous Sandler humors, the dialogue is mostly tight and free of showboating opportunities and it’s also less puerile than what we’re used to seeing from him, saloon one ongoing dick joke. He’s easily the best we have check him in years, outside of his impressive indie work with Noah Baumbach and Paul Thomas Anderson, and it’s also especially pandering to see Aniston in arguably her first successful comic persona since 2013′ s We’re the Millers, its first year in between littered with unfunny dross.

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