Embarrassing, My Dear Watson.
Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly have reunited for the first time in a decade to take on the roles of detectives Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in this “comedic” interpretation of the Sir Arthur Donan Coyle classics.
But there’s no way writer/director Etan Cohen (of the equally inept “Get Hard”) actually read any of the Holmes books to create this mess. In fact, it often feels like there wasn’t even a script for Ferrell and Reilly to work off of. So many of the agonizingly drawn-out, unfunny scenes are simply ad-libbed by the actors, with shockingly bad results.
“Holmes & Watson” is a holiday money grab. Sony is hoping to lure fans who loved this duo in “Talladega Nights” and “Step Brothers” to theaters. Please – save your gift cards.
From the opening scene, in which Holmes and Watson’s first meet as kids, I suspected trouble. Mercifully, the movie runs under 90 minutes, though the relentlessly unfunny gags throughout make it feel much longer.
There’s isn’t one clever element in “Holmes & Watson”. Desperate attempts at humor include scenes involving vomit, urination and making fun of the mentally ill. The concept of infusing contemporary issues (such as gun control and President Trump) into this old-fashioned setting is pathetically basic and poorly executed.
Ferrell, Reilly, Cohen and co-producer Adam McKay (what a bad December he’s having) seem clueless, shoving random references, cameos and even a new Alan Menken song down our throats, while not generating a single laugh in return.
And if all of that isn’t bad enough, “Holmes & Watson” is also one of the sloppiest movies in recent memory. Bad edits and noticeable dubbing mistakes are everywhere. Considering it’s been sitting on a shelf for well over a year (shooting took place between late 2016 and early 2017), there was plenty of time to clean things up. If anyone cared.
There is some mystery involving the true identity of the culprit in the storyline, which involves Professor Moriarty (a wasted Ralph Fiennes). But the revelation is completely underwhelming. Rebecca Hall, Kelly MacDonald and Reilly’s “Stan & Ollie” co-star Steve Coogan appear in thankless supporting roles. All exchanged a few months working in London and a paycheck for the right to see their careers hit an all-time low.
“Holmes & Watson” puts a memorable bow on the 2018 cinematic year. Just when you think it’s highly improbable or even impossible to get any worse – it does. And that’s the truth.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Holmes & Watson” gets an F.
Running Time: 89 min.