"Numbskull Comedy About a Smart Detective"
What You Need To Know:
HOLMES & WATSON delivers few laughs among its many dumb jokes, obvious innuendos, and physical comedy serving the lowest common denominator. An excellent supporting cast only provides minor relief and is ultimately wasted in a story that’s obviously not concerned with plot. That said, the movie’s theme is endearing and even has its own musical number. Eventually, Holmes learns he can’t rely only on his intellect but also needs to rely on love and empathy. Even so, much of the movie’s humor is too crude and unsuitable for children. Even fans of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly will find this one too dumb for them. HOLMES & WATSON is worth skipping for family audiences.
HOLMES & WATSON, a spoof of a classic Sherlock Holmes detective story, is unfortunately full of dumb humor, an uneven script and an uninteresting mystery. Will Ferrell plays a prideful, somewhat bumbling Holmes who refuses to make his sidekick John Watson (John C. Reilly) a co-detective as they try to solve a murder before the killer murders the Queen. The spoof is obviously more concerned with laughs than the plot but sadly delivers very few laughs among all the dumb jokes, obvious innuendos and slapstick comedy serving the lowest, often crudest common denominator.
If you’re looking for a movie to see this holiday season, any other option is probably better than HOLMES & WATSON. In fact, if you’re looking for a Sherlock Holmes comedy, WITHOUT A CLUE, starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley, or SHERLOCK GNOMES are much smarter and more fresh satires of this sub-genre. So, the real mystery becomes why this movie was necessary in the first place. Even more puzzling, and admittedly more interesting than the mystery of the plot, is how they managed to get such a star-studded cast of supporting players. The ever-talented Rebecca Hall, Ralph Fiennes, Kelly Macdonald, Hugh Laurie, and a hilarious Lauren Lapkus are all obviously doing their best with the script they were given.
The script itself is less of a cohesive story and more of a string of gags. As Holmes and Watson try to find a killer who’s impersonating their greatest nemesis, Moriarty, they make several acquaintances and go on many adventures. Rebecca Hall and Lauren Lapkus play an American doctor and her test subject, respectively, who also serve as love interests for Holmes and Watson. Their American heritage leads to several ironic political jokes, jabs at current politicians, and the idea of a female doctor is also a running joke throughout the movie. Those are probably the smartest jokes, although controversial and painfully obvious. The rest of the gags involve slapstick, innuendo, or body humor in various scenes such as the doctors flirting as they sensually perform an autopsy, a few instances of Holmes and Watson being strung out on cocaine, a drunken bar sequence, and the two detectives slapping each other as they try to catch a killer bee. It’s obvious the filmmakers were going for goofy but ended up with an unfunny, juvenile movie that feels much longer than 99 minutes.
Despite many crude gags, the movie’s premise is endearing and even has its own musical number. Eventually, Holmes learns he can’t always rely on his intellect, but needs to allow room for love and emotions in his life. Only when Holmes accepts the love of the people around him can he actually save the day. Although a nice thought, this theme seems to be spoofed as well and is eclipsed by the story’s other negative factors. Overall, much of the humor is too crude and unsuitable for children. Even fans of Ferrell and Reilly will find this one too dumb even for them. Moviegoers looking for an entertaining comedy will find HOLMES & WATSON worth skipping, family viewers even more so.