Star-studded new film Murder Mystery has been a Netflix smash, but our own couch potato MELANIE MCDONAGH says: This tedious whodunnit bored me to death
Murder Mystery (12)
Verdict: Thirty million couch potatoes can be wrong
Out there, beyond the sitting rooms of Britain, Toy Story 4 is the biggest cinema release of the week. But indoors, people are watching a film that’ll never reach the big screen. Yep, it’s Netflix, up to its old tricks — killing off cinema.
More than 31 million people worldwide, to date, have streamed Murder Mystery, presumably on the promise of seeing Gemma Arterton in a scarlet swimsuit.
And she at least delivers: she looks fabulous. The cast list has something for everyone.
It would have been better on the big screen. Still, in a cinema you may not be able to nip out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. And at least at home you can’t complain that you’ve been robbed of a tenner for the ticket
There’s Gemma, Jennifer Aniston, David Walliams, Adam Sandler (he’s the one with the multi-film deal with Netflix), Luke Evans and John Kani. There’s a plot where an all-purpose Agatha Christie series meets an action movie and produces a Jennifer Aniston romcom.
Jen and Adam play a hairdresser and a failed NYPD cop reviving the spark in their marriage by making for Europe . . . only for Jen to encounter an actual English viscount (Luke Evans) when she sneaks into the first-class bit of the plane.
He moves fast, does Luke Evans. He’s barely finished explaining that a viscount is, in fact, called a lord, when he’s inviting the two innocents to join him on the luxury yacht where his billionaire uncle is gloating over his own engagement. He’s marrying his nephew’s former fiancee.
To which Jen asks the obvious question: Why are you going?
‘I’m English and we love social masochism,’ says Evans smoothly.
And so, our two adorably out-of-place Americans end up among a smorgasbord of half a dozen glamorous murder suspects, including a movie legend (Gemma Arterton, as Grace, channelling Bette Davis) and a gay spoilt son, David Walliams.
Terence Stamp, as the billionaire uncle, makes the elementary mistake of telling his guests they are about to be written out of his will — uh-oh — and you know what? The lights go down, he ends up with the family dagger in his chest and the Americans are framed for murder by an idiot French policeman.
For the rest of the film they are out to clear their name — but the murders keep on happening.
Given all these elements, this movie should be a runaway success, something like a cross between the David Niven spoof Casino Royale and the Pink Panther films.
There’s Gemma, Jennifer Aniston, David Walliams, Adam Sandler (he’s the one with the multi-film deal with Netflix), Luke Evans and John Kani. There’s a plot where an all-purpose Agatha Christie series meets an action movie and produces a Jennifer Aniston romcom
But while there’s lots to like — the cast plainly have a ball, the murders come thick and fast and the fabulous backdrops are like a mash-up of Quantum Of Solace and The Italian Job — it just doesn’t come off. It is actually (whisper it) boring.
It would have been better on the big screen. Still, in a cinema you may not be able to nip out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. And at least at home you can’t complain that you’ve been robbed of a tenner for the ticket.
Not that it matters. With this cast, and this budget and this cynical compilation of every genre, it’s going to carry on raking in the viewers.
In short, this film is proof, as one friend said, that 31 million couch potatoes can be wrong. For suspense, humour and emotional depth, you’d be better off going to Toy Story 4.
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