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cinema cinema:english

Murder Mystery

As the swivel chair spins #4

There is something sinister in naming a murder mystery film as ‘Murder Mystery’, especially when it comes produced by Netflix. Like most digital businesses, Netflix would be keen to get the search engine optimization right.

James Vanderbilt, who wrote Zodiac, also wrote this new murder mystery comedy (pause for reflection) headlined by Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston; maybe it was too close to the deadline and he couldn’t think about a title for his movie.

Great, I have spent two paragraphs- one slyly on the search engine benefits of generic movie titles and second on how someone who wrote the dense and detailed Zodiac couldn’t come up with titles.

On further introspection, while writing paragraph three, I realized that the joke was on me; this was meant to be a generic murder mystery movie made to cushion the want of those who craved more of the recently released Murder on the Orient Express.

Hmm, but Murder on the Orient Express too is a generic title, at least it has the specificity of the location.

So I come back home from work on a Friday and slump into a chair (the swivel) and think- “it’s the perfect time to watch a murder mystery”; the sentient sensors on Netflix pick this up and before I know it, I am watching the new Adam Sandler movie.

Something happens and we are told that Adam Sandler is a beat cop who wants to be a detective but he cannot pass the test and his wife Jennifer Aniston- a hairdresser is frustrated that she cannot have her Europe trip as planned.

While the movie never tries to be convincing about the genre it takes up- just throw in the elements like multicultural cast-a big billionaire-European cruise setting and the somewhat comical piling of bodies, hoping it works. But the most unconvincing part is about the leads playing broke middle class Americans on a Euro trip. (The movie goes by the tagline: First class problems. Second class detectives- tiring already)

Oh, but I must say Dany Boon excels as Inspector Laurent Delacroix, wish there was more of the O-ring smoking French officer, but there is very little for anyone to do- Terrence Stamp turns in for just one scene

Pastiche is done lovingly, parody takes it over to the top. This one neither has the love for the genre or the silliness that would evoke multiple viewings- this is just generic (like the title).

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