A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Murder Mystery is a lighthearted comic whodunit released by the ongoing Netflix/Adam Sandler partnership. Set in numerous European luxury resorts and towns and on the Mediterranean Sea, the movie features Sandler and his co-star Jennifer Aniston as a married Brooklyn couple who get caught up in a series of jet set murders. Viewers can expect lots of action -- much of it exaggerated slapstick -- that includes murder by gunshot, poison, and dagger, with some bloody images. In addition, there are chases and life-threatening situations (e.g., a harrowing moment on a hotel ledge). Language includes both cursing ("s--t," "d--k," "t-t," "ass," "pr--k") and sexual jokes ("getting laid," "the boat does all the work"), along with sexual conversations (about waning marital sex, infidelity, and more). One farcical scene shows a clothed couple unsuccessfully attempting to have sex with wild abandon. Many commercial products referenced or on display.
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What's the story?
Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler), a beat cop, and wife Audrey (Jennifer Aniston), a hairdresser, are celebrating their 15th anniversary in MURDER MYSTERY. On a whim, Nick (forlorn because he's failed his police force's detective exam for the third time and has lied to Audrey) "surprises" his wife with a long-promised but belated honeymoon trip to Europe. An encounter on the plane with a wealthy viscount (Luke Evans) unexpectedly leads the two Brooklyn locals to a stay on a luxury yacht owned by Malcom Quince, a super-wealthy octogenarian (Terence Stamp). On their very first evening aboard, Quince is quickly dispatched by an antique dagger. The yacht is brimming with family and friends who wanted the man dead. Nick and Audrey (feeling well-prepared because of her addiction to murder mysteries) set out to identify the killer. Unfortunately, all clues point to the Spitzes themselves ... and the mayhem begins.
Is it any good?
A step up from earlier Netflix-Sandler collaborations that celebrated raunchy, gross-out humor, this mildly entertaining film is an attempt to spoof old-fashioned murder mysteries. It showcases the comic strengths of its two stars; Aniston is particularly funny in a very earnest way while Sandler prefers the bonehead approach, but both work. Led by director Kyle Newacheck, Murder Mystery presents lots of familiar situations common to the genre -- suspects gathered together and eliminated one by one, extended chase sequences, a scramble to safety on a high window ledge -- and they're effective, but routine. Everyone seems to be having a great time as the prime suspects (and all the cast and crew) get to make their magic in some of the most beautiful places on the Mediterranean Sea.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Murder Mystery. How much of it was intended to be taken seriously? Is comic violence less disturbing than dramatic violence? Why or why not? At what age do you think kids can tell the difference?
The movie is filled with comic stereotypes. In some instances, stereotypes can simply be funny and not offensive. Do you agree? Why or why not? Use the characters in this film to support your answer.
Adam Sandler, a box office record-setter, appears in an assortment of film genres (gross-out comedies, parodies, high-brow comedies, and dramas). If you're a fan, in what roles do you like him best? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: June 14, 2019
- Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans
- Director: Kyle Newacheck
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, bloody images, crude sexual content, and language
- Last updated: September 19, 2019
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