Holmes and Watson Reviews
Oh good God. There is no real plot here. Not that it mattered. No, this is a series of things that happen. Those things being two aging comedians screaming at each other like autistic children until someone yelled cut. The rough idea (I guess) was that someone REALLY wanted to satirize the Guy Ritchie directed Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Aside from the fact this movie is almost a decade too late on that front, it ignores the fact that those movies already WERE action comedies that had no problem making fun of their own premise and ridiculous steampunk tone. You were in on the joke AND you still had an interesting story and great chemistry between the main leads. And if you wanted a more serious and cerebral modern take on the classic character, you had the BBC series to fill your time. The other idea that led to this disaster was the history between Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, which included cult favorites such as Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. And yeah that dynamic is there, buried beneath all the shit. There are a couple of jokes that work and Ferrell's English accent is not as terrible as one would assume.
But the rest is PAINFULLY unfunny. Aside from yelling all of their lines, overuse of the gag about Sherlock Holmes being able to calculate (or rather failing to calculate) the mathematics of a fight, jokes about how Watson REALLY wants to bang old Queen Victoria, there are numerous moments in which we are supposed to laugh at cocaine and heroin use. HEY GUYS! DID YOU KNOW THEY DID HARD DRUGS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY AND DIDN'T KNOW HOW DANGEROUS THEY WERE?! WIKIPEDIA SAID IT WAS IN THE BOOKS! PEOPLE IN OLDEN TIMES WERE SOOOOOO STUPID, UNLIKE NOW!!!
I think there is one teachable moment in this dumpster fire. In one scene, Holmes and Watson visit the morgue. Watson asks the World's Greatest Detective if he will be queasy again at the sight of dead bodies. It was at this moment the horror of this joke dawned on me. They are going to make Sherlock Holmes into a stock Will Farrell character for the sake of an overlong vomit joke. Sure enough, he vomits uncontrollably for the next five minutes and can't even get past the lobby. He then flirts with a mute woman and Watson hits on a doctor while they perform an erotic autopsy. What I'm getting at here, is that good satire operates within the rules and world of the IP or topic they are deconstructing. Sherlock Holmes has pulled apart corpses and put them back together for fun. He has spent many a night in rooms FILLED WITH THEM. You are telling me that no comedic writer can get mileage out of THAT weird shit? By acknowledging the source material (and actually understanding it) you can properly take it apart for laughs. For good examples of this, see Mel Brooks' filmography, The LEGO Batman movie, and the first Austin Powers entry. Needless to say, this was where this movie pretty much died for me, long before we have Queen Victoria performing an opening ceremony on the Titanic so we can get a Billy Zane joke. (Yep. That happened.) Fuck this movie. And fuck the people that made it. Netflix didn't want this piece of shit. Think about that. They had no choice but to release it into theaters knowing it would bomb on all fronts. Perhaps the use of the Titanic was appropriate after all.
I think there may have been some poor choices in editing, or some other parts of this film. John C.Reilly And Will Ferrell deliver. I wish there had been more slapstick humor and more silliness. If there is anything they could have changed it would be, to have been more over the top. I enjoyed this movie and I love the work of every actor in it. Laugh out loud funny. Maybe not non stop laughs, but it was fun!
I found this to be one of, if not the, best Ferrell / Reilly comedies. The critics have unfairly judged this film, perhaps it didn't hack on Donald Trump enough to warrant a good review. Bottom line, if you like your jokes fed to you like pablum flying in on a pretend aeroplane, this may not be your cup of tea. If you have an IQ north of 99, you will probably find it quite funny.