Holmes and Watson - 2018
Director(s): Etan Cohen
Writer(s): Etan Cohen
Cinematography by: Oliver Wood
Editor(s): Christophe Beck and Mark Mothersbaugh
Cast: Kelly Macdonald Rebecca Hall Lauren Lapkus Ralph Fiennes Hugh Laurie Steve Coogan Adam Scherr Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly
I am a sucker for anything Will Ferrell. Fell in love with his comedic style and tone on Saturday Night Life back in the 90s and to this day I watch anything he puts out. But even I as a huge fan recognize that he is in his Washington Wizards years (Michael Jordan reference, boom) and he hasn't delivered up to his standards since the 2010s, The Other Guys. Add that to the fact that John C. Reilly is a national treasure, and one of the most versatile actors working to today and you can see why I even bothered going to this movie. Even though the trailers TOLD ME not to go, I went, and I saw, and I write. You read?
The story centers around Sherlock Holmes (Ferrell) and his trusted sidekick Dr. Watson (Reilly). They are recruited by the Queen to save England once again from the evil clutches of Moriarty (Fiennes). As far as plot goes, the movie is not horrible. Driven by the mystery of who is the bad guy, when will the bad guy strike and how will Holmes stop it from happening. The structure isn't horrible either, it goes from one element to the next, and there are minimal improvisational scenes that have plagued Ferrell's recent comedies. It is just merely predictable, overused and boring as a movie, so you turn to the comedic element in hopes of it saving it. Spoiler; it doesn't.
The comedy in this movie, if you can call it comedy, is the lowest of the low hanging fruit. So low that to call it hanging is an insult to the word. We get Trump jokes that will date wonderfully (Make England Great Again hat), USA loves gun jokes (American Ladies with Guns), women are stupid jokes (Woman doctor, are you mad?), and the ever-classic Titanic jokes (Safest boat in the world). It is not the subject that is insulting; it is the way that they all have this unsaid “DO YOU GET IT?” tone after they deliver the jokes. The silence in my theater was deafening, and I was cringing at the screen as they fell flat on the floor. They are also counting on the audience to remember the Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. Holmes' movies from years ago, they mock many story beats as if they came out last year and not in 2011.
Quick note: Not sure what the hell happened with the sound mixing, but there are countless scenes where the dialogue does not match with the lips of the actors. It was the most entertaining part of the movie. The mystery of how much this the editor and the sound mixer had to drink while going through this mountain of crap.
My wife kept saying to me “This cast is incredible” as a new star emerged from the shadows to the hit of being associated with this “comedy”. Not since Movie 43 have I been amazed as to how this amount of talent can produce this amount of nothing. Nobody read the script and said, “Hey, how about no, on this joke.” or was on set and just asked the director, “are you sure we want to say women are dumb for the fortieth time? Can we say something else?”. Kelly Macdonald Rebecca Hall Lauren Lapkus Ralph Fiennes Hugh Laurie Steve Coogan Adam Scherr Will Ferrell John C. Reilly, all deserve better than this, and so does my wife.
Holmes and Watson is a sad entry in the filmography of everyone involved. It is unfortunate that my screening was jammed packed and that eighty people wasted 1hr and 30min of their lives when they could’ve stayed home and re-watch Step Brothers or Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The choice as it turned out was elementary my dear reader. Will Ferrell is still why I love movies.
Holmes and Watson is currently playing in theaters. .
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