Murder Mystery 2 is the self-aware Adam Sandler comedy. At least, it appears to be self-aware, capitalizing on the negative narrative surrounding many of Sandler’s projects. You’ve heard it before – Adam Sandler comedy# 439,788 is just an excuse for him to go on vacation while getting all of his buddies paid. Here, the sequel picks back up with the aggressively loquacious spouses of Audrey and Nick Spitz (Jennifer Aniston, Sandler). After their improbable exploits in the original, the couple are now world-famous detectives, as we witness a montage of the two cracking cases with the ease of pouring cereal. The two deserve a break from all that half-assed amateur detective work, and as luck would have it: they’re invited to a lavish getaway wedding. If it isn’t intentional, it’s certainly very meta that the plot in this movie is ignited by Adam Sandler wanting to go on vacation with all of his friends… again. But, you’ve seen these types of movies before and know that for a destination wedding, murder is an inevitability.

Drew Berrymore is widely known to be Adam Sandler’s most frequent co-star, but Jennifer Aniston has quietly made her bid for 2nd place. She’s the MVP of this movie, despite being the “straight man” of sorts. That’s because she adds a charm and maturity to the sophomoric antics surrounding her, making for an unexpected synergy. One such moment sees Nick bring his wife over to participate on the dance floor, as the wedding celebration reaches a crescendo of bliss. Aniston initially looks slightly uncomfortable, then nails the dance with a look of “Well, why not!” It’s a nice foil to Sandler, even as you wonder how Audrey ended up with a guy that’s liable to steal hotel kitchen knives.

However, despite the rapport between the two leads, it never seems like they’re head over heels in love, or even that there’s much physical attraction. Not in a “they’ve been married forever, the thrill is gone” kind of way, but in a “these two people don’t seem like they’ve EVER had sex,” kind of way. Rather, their “odd couple” dynamic comes across as best friends who enjoy each other’s companies. Which fits the real-life profiles of Sandler and Aniston, who reportedly have been friends for decades. Dammit, so these Sandler-Aniston vehicles are really just another excuse for Adam to go on vacation with friends.

Yet, despite the fact that Murder Mystery 2 fulfills so many quotas requisite of the typical Sandler fare, it also fights back against those cliches. The whole point of the original joke about these movies is the accusation that these scripts are lazy and that Sandler looks lazy in them. To be fair, he does have an uncomfortable amount of entries in his filmography, where his wardrobe is primarily a faded t-shirt and cargo shorts. But here, Nick Spitz is something of an action hero. Which means his character is often seen performing absurd stunts, subverting the notion that Sandler is just here for a lazy film shoot (although I imagine he had a double perform at least 70% of all strenuous activity).

Again, I can’t confirm whether this is intentionally meta commentary, or just a happy coincidence. Regardless, the most hilarious moments in this movie is seeing Nick stand toe to toe with every bad guy he comes across. He’s disarming these guys. He’s matching strength for strength. He’s getting kicked in moving vehicles and has the athleticism and power to hang onto the car while hanging out halfway. His stamina shows no sign of age; at no point do you see him huffing and/or puffing. So, you mean to tell me that the criminals in this movie, who presumably consist mainly of heavily trained assassins, can’t kick Adam Sandler’s ass? Like, imagine that as a real-world scenario, involving real-life celebrity Adam Sandler, and say that sentence out loud.

At this point, I’ve only really talked about Mr. and Mrs. Spitz. That’s because their support is hardly there. For a movie that features so many elements of the fabled Sandler comedy template, it doesn’t hit on one of the structure’s key elements – memorable supporting characters. The talent is there, but it isn’t utilized well. Usually, the supporting characters in a Happy Madison production are bizarre oddballs that win you over with well-timed gags. But that roster of comic relief seems limited here. John Kani does play one such character, as he’s charismatic enough to make a running joke about a missing arm land. But he hardly gets any moments or memorable punch lines to leave any lasting impression.

In fact, much of this cast spends a chunk of the movie just in a room together. They’re just sitting there, waiting for updates on the case while the two lead characters have all the fun, like this is an episode of Dragon Ball: Super. The one supporting character that does get some screen time (too much, in fact) is a returning Adeel Akhtar as the Maharajah. I can only describe this character as a cross between Ali G, DJ Khaled, and Jimmy Kimmel. Apparently, that’s an annoying concoction. This man always has something to say, even if it has nothing to do with the plot. He yells all of his lines, sounds like he has a massive coke addiction, while displaying the worst attempt at swag that I’ve ever seen. If you’re not feeling him, then there’s the umpteenth joke about a pervy guy trying to get Jennifer Aniston to search for something in his pants pocket. Enjoy.

Overall, there was never any pressure on Murder Mystery 2 to be much of anything. It’s just another episode in the Adam Sandler Comedy Industrial Complex, but it’s a pretty mediocre entry on that scale. While the cast seems energetic, the story itself is so blase and nonchalant that it’s a wonder any actor in this movie can adequately portray that their life is in danger. Combine that with a multitude of jokes that are not only ho-hum upon first impression but are run into the ground with relentless repetition. The inevitable Murder Mystery 3 will one day arrive, presumably revolving again around an extravagant vacation for the lead characters as they solve a pedestrian mystery. But just like it’s predecessor, I imagine the “mystery” of it all will be a predictable yet forgettable fare that you’ll barely be able to recall two days later.