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VOD film review: Holmes and Watson

Updated 08-05-19 | 16:30 PM | Staff Writer

Review Overview

Acting – elementary


Direction – a load of old Baskerville hound droppings


Deduction – poor

2/10 Total Rating 2/10

Etan Cohen’s comedy take on Holmes and Watson is a load of old Baskerville hound droppings

Director: Cast: Will Ferrell, John C Reilly Certificate: 12 Watch Holmes & Watson online in the UK: iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Virgin Movies / eir Vision Movies / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store

A previously undiscovered short story shows what the denizens of 221B Baker Street really think of Holmes and Watson.

It was a cold night at 21B Baker Street. The air hung heavy with tobacco smoke as myself and my constant companion, Mr. Sherlock Holmes sat in front of a fire that provided much needed warmth, given that we were chilled to the bone – both physically and spiritually.

“A most intriguing entertainment we witnessed tonight, Holmes,” I ventured, punctuating the silence.

“Intriguing. If that’s what you want to call it, Watson,” Holmes replied with a dry sarcasm.

“Perhaps I am being a little too kind,” I murmured.

“Kind. Hah!,” his cruel stab of laughter slicing through the thick air. “You know I had always had my doubts about you chronicling our adventures, but I let you do so. I even tolerated your more extravagant literary flourishes. And I will admit that those who have interpreted said adventures have often done so with adequacy. Basil Rathbone did fine work…”

“Though his Dr. Watson was more than a little bumbling,” I interrupted.

“Yes,” Holmes said in a neutral enough tone that I was not sure whether he was mocking me. “As I was saying, the likes of Jeremy Brett and that young Cumberbatch have all done a fine job of bringing me to other realms – although perhaps they do not capture some of the true nature of my deductive skills. Even with his unfortunate interest in affairs of the flesh and cross-dressing, I thought Robert Downey Jr. brought something of interest.”

“And I thought Dr. Watson was dashing…” I added, but Holmes was now stood up and agitating around the room.

“But this Holmes and Watson? Will Ferrell makes a mockery of me and my good name,” he thundered. “You may not believe it, Watson, but I know humour and it does not take one of London’s greatest detectives to tell you that there was none to be found. Yes, our adventures have never been the most comedic. But do you remember Without A Clue with Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley? Not the height of comedic achievement but it provided adequate mirth. Even the Guy Ritchie films have a certain humour to them. Our escapades can be made funny, if one tries.”

“I’m sorry, Holmes,” I said, wearily. “But when I heard that the film hadn’t been screened for critics or that Sony had apparently tried to sell the rights off, I assumed that other forces were at work. Not merely that it wasn’t good.”

“What do I always tell you, Watson? Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. And the truth is that this film was reputed to be a pile of what I believe our American cousins call ‘hot garbage’, before it was ever forced upon an audience.”

“I know, Holmes,” I concurred. “But I thought Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly would prove to be more than adequate in the lead roles and ably supported by a bevy of British character actors.”

“Ah, Watson, ever the optimist,” said Holmes, as he slunk back down into his chair. “But despite their previous roles, nothing works, does it? The script is leaden – with its lazy device of ‘put a modern invention into a past time’ and references to motion pictures that are decades old – while the cast seem to wish they were somewhere else. Both Ferrell and Reilly are somewhat wooden, and clearly going through the motions.”

“Not to mention their accents,” I added.

“You may have read my monograph ‘Bad British Accents – From Dick Van Dyke to Don Cheadle’. I am afeared that I will have to re-write it to take account of those travesties.”

“But surely there were one or two moments of mirth? Or one or two good action scenes?” I ventured.

“Oh, come now, Watson. When not being a lazy parody of Guy Ritchie films, the film had nothing to distinguish itself. The slapstick was poorly done, the jokes were telegraphed and it was a thorough waste of everyone’s time.”

“I suppose you’re right, Holmes. It’s just when it won four Razzie awards and was utterly condemned by the public, I hoped that it might be some sort of over-reaction.”

“And that is why you remain at my side, Watson,” said Holmes, gently. “Your kindness complements my pure deductive skill. But you have to sometimes remember that things are what they are. And Holmes and Watson is a failure of the highest magnitude. Big budget filmmaking with no heart or no soul. I deduce that everyone in it has done it for the money – there is no other logical reason for it to be unleashed on the world. If you take our names away – and, by jove, I wish they would – then you just have a farrago of period antics.”

Silence returned, as our disappointment in the evening’s entertainment had rendered us mute.

“You know, I think to get over this I might need more than a 7 per cent solution,” said Holmes, softly.

Normally, I would chastise Holmes for his excesses, but I decided that now was a time to quietly acquiesce. Rather, I quietly hoped that this film would not be enough to sully our good names. I would just have to invite all involved to take a trip to Switzerland. There’s a waterfall I’d like to show them.

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