Director: Etan Cohen
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Hall, Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan, Kelly Macdonald, Pam Ferris, Lauren Lapkus, Hugh Laurie, Ralph Fiennes
Run Time: 89 mins
With a cast this strong and the idea of making a comedic version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective sounding like genius on paper, Holmes and Watson sadly fails to deliver on that promise. Etan Cohen’s sophomore directorial effort to the relatively funny Get Hard doesn’t seem to understand Sherlock Holmes well enough and the film’s narrative is very lazy and uninspired. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly seem to be having fun at least but for both actors, they are laden with a bottom-of-the-barrel script which subjects them to some excruciating dialogue. The film wastes its wider cast too, especially Ralph Fiennes whose role is more of a cameo rather than a relatively high billing on the poster. There’s a couple of slight chuckles to be had (I think I laughed perhaps twice or three times throughout the whole film) but virtually all of the film’s jokes don’t land. It’s quite shocking to witness the lack of creativity in this film as it really isn’t hard to come up with at least one exciting set piece. The ending is particularly bad and is set on the Titanic which is both a cheap move and historically inaccurate to this time period.
Whilst Holmes and Watson seems like a travesty on paper, it isn’t quite as bad as the critics are making out. I laughed two or three times which is better than none. Also, at least the film isn’t offensive. Daddy’s Home, another Will Ferrell vehicle, for example is far worse in that it is mean-spirited in tone and its characters infinitely more annoying. Whilst that’s hardly a ringing endorsement for this film, there is worse out there. Ultimately, it’s a real shame that Holmes and Watson doesn’t fulfil the potential it had on paper and the end result is very disappointing.