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Review: Holmes and Watson

Holmes and Watson
2 10

PLOT: Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) and Dr. Watson (John C. Reilly) must defeat their arch-nemesis, Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) as he plans to kill the Queen of England.

REVIEW: A few weeks ago, if you had told me that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly could make a film completely and utterly without merit, I would’t have believed you. Both have been in a few odd duds here and there, but paired-up, the goodwill alone that they generate should have made HOLMES AND WATSON at least somewhat watchable. In this case, kudos to the trailer cutters at Sony, as they managed to make this look halfway decent enough that, in its first few days, the movie was able to rake in a bit of coin before word of people walking out en masse and demanding refunds, or the news that Netflix turned down the chance to acquire it in a last minute sale, killed business.

So what, exactly, is so wrong with HOLMES AND WATSON? Unlike another recent disaster, WELCOME TO MARWEN, this one isn’t literally painful to sit through, but it’s so utterly uninspired that you wonder how so many talented people somehow got involved. Even director Etan Cohen, who was responsible for another Ferrell bomb, GET HARD, has some decent work under his belt and should have been able to deliver a much better film. Seeing Will Ferrell and Adam McKay listed as producers the same week another one they share the same credit on, VICE, hits theatres and you wonder if this was part of some Faustian bargain to get that one made.

Sloppily assembled, the eighty-nine minute running time suggests a hastily re-edited farce, as does the overdubbing of jokes, such as a tiresome “fake news” line — just one example of how they try to milk Trump for laughs (despite this being a particularly unfunny topic these days). Essentially a spoof of the Guy Ritchie Holmes movies, the last of which came out seven years ago, one wonders what compelled them to think Ferrell playing Holmes could sustain a film?

Everything about this is tired, going for easy, failed laughs like selfie jokes and slapstick where they beat up the elderly queen, with a recurring joke being Watson’s attraction to her. Nothing adds up, and even Ferrell and Reilly’s usually ace chemistry fails them. At times they seem to be trying to make this a broad, Mel Brooks style spoof, but it doesn’t have the energy. What’s worse is how bored Ferrell seems to be, relying on old schtick. As he hits middle age he’ll need to shake things up to stave off irrelevance. Reilly fares slightly better, but it’s a stain on what’s been an otherwise terrific year for him between THE SISTERS BROTHERS, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET and STAN & OLLIE (his co-star in that - Steve Coogan - makes a cameo).

Usually dependable players like Rebecca Hall and the great Rob Brydon seem lost, as if they’re wondering how on earth they’ll be able to wring laughs out of the shoddy material, while Fiennes, lucky for him, is mostly offscreen. At least it’s all over fairly quickly, but Ferrell fans will no doubt turn against him for this one, as it has no redeeming jokes, with his listless performance playing like this was merely a paycheque waiting to be cashed. This is a movie that never should have been made, and if studios keep green lighting big, expensive comedies like this one that only get made because of who’s attached, the genre will be as dead as everyone says it is before long.

Source: JoBlo.com

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