Holmes & Watson

How old am I? I laughed at Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly all the way through Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby in 2006. And then I did it again 2 years later for Step Brothers. They were such a charming duo in their way. But here we are in 2019 and I can’t find one spare giggle for their reunion in Holmes & Watson. How old have I gotten that I don’t find these two funny anymore? Or perhaps the better question is: why are they still making the same movie when they’re both now in their 50s?

In fact, upon closer inspection, Holmes & Watson is NOT the same movie. The first two are birthed at the hands of Ferrell and Adam McKay, with just a magical sprinkling from Reilly. Holmes & Watson is written and directed by Etan Cohen, who is also responsible for Idiocracy, a movie which I find vile and deeply unfunny, so perhaps it’s no wonder at all that this one isn’t for me either.

The world is saturated with Sherlock Holmes stories and we didn’t need another, but I believe we would have made room for it if the movie warranted it. Benedict Cumberbatch has already staked an icon take on the role, and the writers on the show go MV5BM2Q0Y2UyNDEtODE1NC00ZTUyLTgzY2EtNjliM2VjNDk3NTZjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTMyMjYwNTA@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,888_AL_to great lengths to honour his brilliant mind and the world’s most esteemed detective. Will Ferrell’s Sherlock is also supposed to be brilliant, but Cohen can’t find a way to express that while still being funny. The result is a rim shot – you know, when the basketball can’t decide whether to score or not, so it just sort of hobbles around in midair, keeping everyone in suspense? Only the movie’s tone is the basketball, and it circles the rim for so long that you’d rather just walk away in disgust than find it whether it eventually lands.

As far as I can tell, most of the humour is derived from Holmes and Watson supposedly accidentally inventing things far before their time, like a selfie with the Queen (it’s Queen Victoria in the movie, even though at the time of Titanic’s sail, which is when the film is set, King George would have reined), and a telegraphed dick pic

Holmes & Watson is a blemish to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s memory, and a bruise for modern cinema, which it really didn’t need. It’s not just an unfunny comedy, it’s also a shockingly bad movie. When Sony realized it had a real stinker on its hands, it tried to just sell it off quietly to Netflix, and Netflix said: no thanks. So if you’re still wondering How bad can it be?, remember that you’ll have to pay a $5 rental fee to find out, and after reading this review, if you pay it, it’s not so much a rental feel as an idiot tax, and maybe you deserve to pay it after all.

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14 thoughts on “Holmes & Watson

  1. joel watches movies

    Too bad. Ferrell has had a few duds over his career but Step Brothers is one of my favourite comedies ever so I was excited when I heard about him and Reilly teaming up again! Once the trailer came out though I could already sense this was going to be bad.

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    1. tubularsock

      joel, Tubularsock went off and watched the trailer after your suggestion that you had done so.

      Jay had already convinced Tubularsock of the folly of this film but you too are spot on in your review.

      Nice going Sherlock! Thanks.

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  2. Divorce With Me

    IT IS THEEEEEEEE WORST!!!! We too were hopeful that this would be a comedy that would bring back the bromance that made me cackle at the height of their careers. But no. This is one of the only two movies I’ve ever actually walked out of. No movie should be this wasteful. It’s just awful. (And I like stupid humor! But this was just stupid.)

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Liz A.

    It looked awful when I saw a poster for it in a theater. The poster looked awful. So, yeah…

    As for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I remember reading that when he sold the rights to make movies based on his characters, he pretty much was fine with them doing whatever. So, I doubt he would have been troubled by this interpretation.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Orca Flotta

    “Idiocracy, a movie which I find vile and deeply unfunny”
    Which it indeed was. I expected so much more from that movie but they gave the bestest idiotic acts away, sold the movie short. Ok, I acknowledge the fact that in the 2010s you can’t make some of finer, more funny points since the audience wouldn’t get them and the whole flick would’ve turned into a geekfest.
    Anyway, still bad movie, and I wouldn’t watch another comedy from Etan Cohen, because he turned out to be the worst idiot, totally misunderstanding the art of comedy.
    So BBC, Cumberbatch/Freeman were pseudo-intelligent, and Ritchie, Downey/Law were full of action and sillyness … does the world really need another Holmes show? NO!

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  5. Christopher

    The final sketch of the final episode of That Mitchell & Webb Look is built around the premise that Holmes has dementia and Watson comes to visit him. There’s nothing funny about dementia and in spite of the laughtrack I don’t think Mitchell and Webb meant the sketch to be seen as funny. As much as I hate to give anything away–you can find it on YouTube–there’s a moment that really shows how they intended it to be tragic and sad. Holmes has a moment of lucidity and says, “John…I just can’t get the fog to clear.”
    That also seems like a meta-comment on why Mitchell and Webb quit when they did. They knew if they kept going they’d get increasingly ridiculous and less funny. It was time to move on to other things.
    I think Ferrell and Reilly are very talented guys who still have good work ahead of them, but only if they realize it’s time to move on to other things.

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  6. selizabryangmailcom

    FASCINATING !
    I feel exactly the same way about this movie…..AND the fact that earlier movies with those two were/seemed very funny. But not this one. Hubby and I actually saw it together and we kept looking at each other because the editing was so bizarre and nonsensical.

    But what’s this about Idiocracy?! Vile and deeply unfunny?! A lot of the jokes fell flat– especially later– but I beg to differ! I see sh** from that movie that’s actually. happening. now. in. our. lives. But it’s fascinating how perception can travel a parallel path and then veer so wildly apart, lol !!!

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