I’m no fan of Will Ferrell… by any stretch of the word. In fact, I think he’s far more annoying than current Adam Sandler. Though Sandler’s movies are far worse, they’re at least released on Netflix, where I can easily skip them. Ferrell on the other hand is so bizarrely popular that he releases movies every year in theaters, and I can’t freakin’ take it, man. I refuse to shell out any money for his flicks, but I love ripping into them. Hate watching them, love hating them. It releases my inner Nostalgia Critic.
The story looks like it’s about Sherlock Holmes and Watson trying to figure out who wants to murder the Queen.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Will Ferrell (DADDY’S HOME  and 2 , ZOOLANDER 2 , and THE LEGO MOVIE ), John C. Reilly (RALPH/INTERNET , KONG/ISLAND , LOBSTER , GUARDIANS , and the upcoming STAN & OLLIE ), Rebecca Hall (THE DINNER , THE BFG , THE GIFT , IRON MAN 3 , and upcoming films TEEN SPIRIT  and A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK ), Ralph Fiennes (LEGO BATMAN , KUBO , SPECTRE , SKYFALL , Harry Potter GOBLET  and PHOENIX , and the upcoming OFFICIAL SECRETS ), and Hugh Laurie (TOMORROWLAND , and the upcoming THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD ).
In support, we have Kelly Macdonald (RALPH/INTERNET and GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ), Lauren Lapkus (DOG DAYS  and JURASSIC WORLD ), Steve Coogan (TRIP/SPAIN , SECRET/PETS , MINIONS , and upcoming films STAN & OLLIE and HOT AIR ), Rob Brydon (EARLY MAN , TRIP/SPAIN, HUNTSMAN 2 , and the upcoming BLINDED BY THE LIGHT ), and Noah Jupe (QUIET PLACE , WONDER , and upcoming films HONEY BOY  and FORD V. FERRARI ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Etan Cohen, known for MEN IN BLACK 3 (2012). One of the producers is Adam McKay, known for VICE (2018), THE BOSS (2016), DADDY’S HOME, and the upcoming BOOKSMART (2019). Co-composing the score are Christophe Beck (ANT-MAN  and WASP , AMERICAN MADE , TROLLS , FROZEN , and PITCH PERFECT ) and Mark Mothersbough (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA  and 3 , THOR 3 , PITCH PERFECT 2 , LEGO MOVIE, and the upcoming THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART ). The cinematographer is Oliver Wood, known for EQUALIZER 2 (2018), JACK REACHER 2 (2016), and SCOOBY-DOO 2 (2004). Finally, co-editors are Erik Jessen (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of) and Dean Zimmerman (DARKEST MINDS  and WITCH HUNTER ).
When this movie was first announced, I was actually intrigued, even with Ferrell’s name attached. I mean, a pure comedy version of Sherlock Holmes. That… almost sounds like it could work. But then I saw the God-damned trailer and it was as bad as I could have expected. Modern humor. Selfie jokes, horny men pining over old women, and just overall dumb characters. This is exactly what I didn’t want to see in a Sherlock Holmes movie. Maybe if this took place in modern day… no, it’d still lick donkey balls, but at least the humor would make sense for the time period. I’m just laying it out now, if you want a proper period comedy, check out THE FAVOURITE. Fantastic, hilarious, deliciously spiteful, it’s going to work so much better than this will. I’m calling it now.
This is my honest opinion of: HOLMES & WATSON
The brilliant Detective Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) and his side-kick Doctor John Watson (John C. Reilly) are a dynamic mystery-solving duo and have been life-long friends since childhood. They just solved a case involving Sherlock’s arch-nemesis, Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), who is actually a very convincing impostor forced to act like Moriarty. Sherlock is celebrated for his services at the Queen’s (Pam Ferris) Palace, and no less, on his birthday. However, the celebration is cut short when a dead body is discovered in Sherlock’s cake, raising the possibility that maybe Moriarty is still at large. On top of that, a threat against the Queen’s life in mere days, the hunt is on for the criminal.
Mmph… it’s not a good movie. Light-years from it. It’s an undeniable corpse of comedy. With that said, I don’t think it’s 0% bad. As far as Will Ferrell’s movies are concerned, this is the least offensive, especially compared to the Daddy’s Home movies. It certainly has a ton of comedy no-no’s that make this movie shitty, but it’s not the worst of these that I’ve seen.
Why do I dislike this movie less than the Daddy’s Home movies? Simply put, the Daddy’s Home movies are sexist, making the dumb-ass fathers force the more level-headed mothers to take a backseat to parenting, and the male parenting is: treat girls with no respect. It’s actually kind of gross. Here… I give this movie credit that the sexism is period-appropriate. But what kind of compliment is that? “At least your sexism works here instead of there”? It’s still sexism and plenty of period films avoid this crap altogether, or at least make it the central theme that the protagonist has to overcome. Ferrell’s movies just have sexism because the man couldn’t pick a quarter-way decent film to be a part of.
Take note, that’s the “compliment” I gave this movie. Now it’s time to get to how I really feel about it.
There’s plenty of gross-out humor, involving multiple scenes of characters eating raw onions. There’s an autopsy scene where Watson and Dr. Grace Hart (Rebecca Hall)- dear God, Rebecca, why did you say yes to this movie? – and they’re rubbing some gross-ass stuff over the body, I have no idea what it was, all to the tune of “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers. Yes, a song created in 1955 is being played in a movie set in 1911 or 1912. Of course, the movie basically opens on a Hannah Montana quote because… it existed, and a rap song, and rap wouldn’t be invented until the late 1970s, so why should any of this surprise me? Because it’s still stupid and stupid things need to be highlighted. There’s poop jokes, vomit jokes, and dick jokes, all among my top comedy no-nos.
Let’s all be honest and admit that Sherlock’s childhood was completely unnecessary. Convince me I’m wrong. He’s bullied, refuses to show emotions in place of pure intelligence… where does any of that come into play in the actual story? Holmes isn’t proving himself to any bullies, his romantic interest in Millie (Lauren Lapkus)- Oh God, Lauren, why?! – plays such a minuscule part in the flick, so why bother having any of that. We probably could have figured out that he rejects emotions simply from his initial reaction to her. Not that it would make sense either way, but… I don’t know, at least the movie would have been shorter. It’s only ninety minutes long, but by God it feels like three hours.
If things weren’t bad enough, the movie has to rip off SHERLOCK GNOMES by taking the plotline of Watson feeling inferior to Holmes’ ego. Now, I won’t pretend to have read any Sherlock Holmes books, so I can’t pretend to know what subject matter the stories tackled. If I were to guess, yes, Sherlock is intelligent and egotistical. Would I be surprised if there was at least one story where Watson wanted to be acknowledged for all the work that he did with Sherlock? No. But that this becoming a cliché for the character is on par with a Ninja Turtles movie only featuring Leonardo and Raphael fighting. Believe it or not, other stories can be told.
Also, I’m taking a minute to have a moment of silence for the actual good actors whose families were kidnapped in order to drag them into this production. At least, that’s going to be my theory because I can’t believe anyone looked at this script and willfully said yes to it. Rebecca Hall, Lauren Lapkus, Kelly mother f**king Macdonald, Steve Coogan, Hugh Laurie, Ralph Fiennes… may your careers be untarnished by this schlock… *silence* Yeah, and everyone is completely sapped of their talent. Lapkus acts like a cat because… she was raised by feral cats. Oh, the… intrigue. So Lapkus licks her hand like a cat and has the intelligence of a four year old. Because, again, writing in multiple intelligent women that actually contribute to the story would be too progressive for this. And Macdonald… dude, this hurts me. I love Macdonald. She’s been in some truly great movies and is a spectacular actress who isn’t in nearly enough movies. And yet, she’s almost treated the worst here. Er… okay, to be fair, on a technical level. There are two scenes in which her ADR is so off that one might as well have pointed it out with bright neon signs. F**k this movie for making Macdonald look bad.
There’s so much more I can rip into, but this movie is sucking the energy out of me. At least this movie isn’t as blatantly insulting toward women as other Ferrell movies, but that doesn’t excuse what insults to comedy that run rampant through this dick-sauce of a movie. It’s definitely one of the worst he’s made in recent years, but hardly the worst. Shitty. Total shit, make no mistake. I do not recommend this. Avoid this movie like the plague.
My honest rating for HOLMES & WATSON: 1/5
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Next week’s reviews:
- STAN & OLLIE