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

Adam Sandler’s monster eight-movie deal with Netflix arrived as both a approval and a expletive for those who had actually braved any of his last eight self-produced theatrical handouts. While it allowed most of us to simply pretend he had stopped working( times for anyone who’s even well informed what Sandy Wexler is ), it also allowed him to continue drawing the same films that even his most impassioned followers 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 surprisingly nimble summer humor that observes both Aniston and Sandler at their most charming. They star as a married couple living a rather staid life in New York: he’s Nick, a cop feigning he’s a detective while she’s Audrey, his unaware hairdresser wife who yearns for more relationship. He owes her a European honeymoon and on their 15 th commemoration, he eventually 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 palatial yacht party hosted by a billionaire( Terence Stamp) who soon turns up dead, leaving the couple as prime suspects.

Originally slated to starring Charlize Theron with Shakespeare in Love’s John Madden at the helm, Murder Mystery might now be arriving in a far less glamorous package, ushered in by the director of Game Over, Man !, but there’s a propulsive watchability that still reaches it move. It starts on rocky ground with reputations characterizing themselves in clumsily wide-ranging blows and the script “il rely on” sitcom-level gender stereotypes( in one stage a group of women complaints about their husbands not doing the bowls enough) but once the couple’s in the air, things smooth out considerably. The script, from the Zodiac and White House Down screenwriter James Vanderbilt, is zippy and relatively smart-alecky, playing like a fast-paced mix of Game Night and Manhattan Murder Mystery. Aniston’s reference is haunted with trashy mystery fictions with entitlements such as RSVP Murder and raises 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 plead and it’s a pleasure to watch two virtuosoes aware of what an audience craves from them without taking such knowledge for awarded. They’re playing up to their quintessential types but in a way that never feels phoned in, and there’s a lived-in married couple chemistry that constructs 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, rail one ongoing dick joke. He’s easily the best we have see him in years, outside of his impressive indie work with Noah Baumbach and Paul Thomas Anderson, and it’s also specially pandering to see Aniston in arguably her first successful comic role since 2013′ s We’re the Millers, the years in between littered with unfunny dross.

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