“Holmes & Watson” is a so-called comedic film satirizing the Sherlock Holmes series and stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in the lead roles. Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall, and Hugh Laurie are included in the cast as well. Etan Cohen is the writer and director of this mess.
There were a few moments that got a bark of laughter out of me occasionally, however most of it was rather dreadful. It does not have a long running time, yet I was sort of chomping at the bit to see the ending credits, which is a shame.
I am a long-time fan of Sherlock Holmes, and I don’t mind the occasional satire of the franchise, but this one lacked any real cleverness. Satire of this sort should have some affection for the source material as well, however I had no real sense that fans of the original canon were doing this. Cohen did reference some of the initial quotes and stories, so maybe he has read some of it or about it.
The moments such as Holmes vomiting at the thought of actually seeing a corpse went on too long.
Even Fiennes seemed a little bored with it as Moriarty. I have often criticized pastiche works such as other films and books for the overuse of Professor Moriarty, who was really only significant in one story of the original Doyle works.
There were a lot of digs at the present-day political climate which could have been amusing and yet missed the mark. Once again, we were reminded at the inequality of treatment aimed at women. Watson finds love with a female doctor played by Rebecca Hall. The pairing of Hall with a rather unique looking actress named Lauren Lapkus was a bit more interesting than the lead duo. Describing Lapkus as unique is not meant to be critical. She just seems to have a rather unusual features and expressions that seem to be naturally suited to comedic roles and may be the only redeeming aspect to this dreck of a movie.
It’s a shame this films didn’t really have much enjoyment for me because Ferrell and Reilly are not devoid of talent. I have seen them in movies I rather liked, however when the two of them get together, it feels overly familiar. It’s probably because I am not a huge fan of slapstick because Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon had a similar association, but they were so much better together where it was easier to look forward to their next schtick together even though they were also a bit repetitive in their performances as well.
Basically, there isn’t much worth seeing here. There is quite a bit one could do to satirize the Holmes series, however it does require familiarity and real affection for it to be effective, and I didn’t sense any of that here.