Holmes & Watson (2018)

“Shall we begin the autopsy?”

They say you should never stand behind a horse so as to not get violently kicked, yet in the baffling case of Holmes & Watson, no such fear exists because its foolish take on Sherlock doesn’t deliver a single punch to the gut or a tickle to the funny bone. The movie’s a sickly donkey dehydrated of all intelligence, as well as a 90 minute trot that only succeeds in making a jackass out of itself and the audience. As one of 2018’s very worst films and the rare comedy that delivers nary a laugh, Holmes & Watson makes middling movies look brilliant by comparison.

Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) meets Dr. John Watson (John C. Reilly) under distressing circumstances. Watson threatens to leap from a rooftop and end his life, prompting the gardening Sherlock to plead that the landing zone be shifted away from his enormous prized vegetable. This early scene defines a movie that’s utterly disconnected from its target audience, showing a selfish Sherlock threatening bloody murder and a doltish Doctor who misinterprets threats as signs of affirmation and fellowship. The film only goes further downhill when the legendary duo team up against the madman Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), providing scene after scene to highlight just how inept these so-called detectives truly are, along with the movie itself.

Sherlock dry heaves and vomits, Watson lactates after being poisoned by his supposed pal, many a scene revolves around their housekeeper Rose Hudson (Kelly Macdonald) being a well dressed and insatiable harlot. Some love interests are added in for good measure as well. Dr. Grace Hart (Rebecca Hall) and Watson share an intimate moment during an autopsy whilst channeling Ghost, all while Holmes falls for Hart’s feral companion Millie (Lauren Lapkus). As a quartet, the four try to thwart Moriarty’s threat to kill Queen Victoria (Pam Ferris) in a few day’s time, and along the way there’s a heavy, empty-headed deluge of yelling and kicking and screaming. In Holmes & Watson, when the idiocy rains, it most certainly pours. Bring your umbrellas.

Released back in 2008, Step Brothers was the last truly great film that listed Will Ferrell’s name on the poster. Meanwhile, John C. Reilly has been busy pushing boundaries and exploring creative properties with Cyrus, The Lobster, and even delivering a remarkably bizarre performance in Kong: Skull Island. Reilly has proven that he can exist outside of the realm of vapid comedies whereas Ferrell continues to plunder and pull the same routine film after film. And it’s equally disheartening to see two men this talented polka around as puppets in a movie that operates with no strings attached, offering them little guidance or direction. In Step Brothers, this dynamic duo exaggerated and elaborated upon American men identifying with Peter Pan syndrome, yet here there is no premise outside of forced political quips and modern interactions (the drunk text and the d*** pic, for example) that are repurposed as time-worn classics. Sad, stupid, and egregiously galling, Etan Cohen’s Holmes & Watson exemplifies the kind of festering, bottom dwelling cinema that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day. I’ve laughed harder – or at least a little bit at all – during wakes for the deceased. This one was DOA.

“I’m losing patience with you.”

Rating: 0.5 out of 5

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