Sometimes a movie comes along that is so bad that it defies words. That is not the case with Holmes & Watson. I have plenty of things to say. And while my grandma always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, I’m going to defy her advice in this column.
Life Is A Mystery -Madonna
In her hit song Like A Prayer, Madonna sang “life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone.” The greatest mystery here is: how did this movie get greenlit? And no one stands alone. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are in this together as equals.. equally unfunny.
From Step Brothers to Talladega Nights, Will and John have proved a winning combo on the big screen. But those classic comedies are well in our rearview mirror. But this movie leans on the goodwill created by those films and does nothing to earn it.
Comic Bits Aren’t One Bit Funny
If you’ve seen the trailers or commercials for this “film” then you have seen the best parts. Some of them even seem funny. But when you see them in context they are flat at best.
H&W is nothing more than an excuse for Will and John to do bits and tell jokes they want to tell, in an absurdist setting of Holmes’ London. The pair moves from scene to scene, setting up ‘jokes,’ delivering them, and moving on, with little to no connective tissue to hold the film together. The scenes are more like vignettes created at the whims of the stars and a director that could be charged as a criminal accomplice.
It’s as if Professor Moriarty somehow got ahold of the script and sabotaged it.
Somewhere Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s desiccated corpse is rolling over in its grave.
It’s things like this that make Sherlock do drugs.
You get my point.
Many of the jokes are unveiled commentary on modern times, like saying if an American had committed the murder they would have used a gun. These points can be funny when they are a part of the story. But here they are the point of much of the story.
It takes a laborious story and, rather than alleviate the ‘film,’ only bogs it down more.
The Signs Were There
I am far from the only critic ravaging the movie. In fact, this is one of the kinder reviews of the film.
The studio didn’t screen this for critics beforehand, never a good sign. And it didn’t earn any goodwill by forcing us to have to interrupt our Christmas holiday to schlep to a theater to go see it.
Audiences have been walking out, and I can’t blame them. If it weren’t my job to stay through it, I’d have eaten the $44 and left. I saw it with family and friend. The Christmas miracle is they were still willing to talk to me after I cajoled them to see this with me.
Even Neflix, the streamer that says yes to everything, had the foresight to pass on this.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Sherlock’s vice was heroin. While I would avoid felonious drugs for myriad reasons, there’s no reason you can’t mix up some liquid heroin. It’s sweet and not too addicting!
But THE REAL recommendation from this critic is: if you want to see Will & John, rent Step Brothers and avoid Holmes & Watson like plague.