Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly Reunite for Gag-Fueled ‘Holmes & Watson’
In their first film together since “Step Brothers,” winning comedy duo Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly become another iconic pair in the outlandish comedy “Holmes & Watson.” Ferrell, of course, plays Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes, while Reilly steps into the role of his underappreciated sidekick, Dr. John Watson. As there are no parents here and neither Ferrell or Reilly are adept at playing the “straight man,” there really isn’t anybody to rein in the silliness, and the result is gag after gag, some funnier than others.
“Holmes & Watson” begins with a drawn-out prologue in which it is explained how the young Holmes (Hector Bateman-Harden), a victim of bullying, learned how to suppress his emotions as a coping mechanism. As a result, he tapped into his remarkable ability to pick up on the smallest of details and use logical reasoning to unlock secrets and mysteries. 30 years or so later, he has established himself as London’s top detective. The central mystery here involves a notorious criminal mastermind (Ralph Fiennes), whose latest plot involves an attempted assassination of Queen Victoria (Pam Ferris), but this whole plotline is secondary to all the silliness.
Talented English actress Rebecca Hall isn’t exactly known for her comedic ability, but here she holds her own as a ”lady doctor,” American Grace Hart. While Grace romances Watson (one of the more ridiculous, giggle-inducing scenes involves the pair spoofing “Ghost” in a morgue), Holmes falls for her aide, Millie (the hilarious Lauren Lapkus), a woman who was raised by feral cats.
There’s also much satire of our modern culture. For example, how would a drunk gentleman express his feelings to a lady in the wee hours of the morning a century before the advent of texting? Holmes and Watson have it figured out. Writer/director Etan Cohen (not Ethan Coen, an easy mistake that could lead to some confusion) also finds ways to poke fun at the easy target that is our current POTUS.
Again, “Holmes & Watson” truly is a film that requires one to turn off his or her brain beforehand for any chance at enjoyment. The climax of the movie involves Queen Victoria attending a gala aboard the Titanic, despite the fact that she died over a decade before that ship set sail. Highlights of the film involve actors that we are used to seeing in more highbow fare being goofy, not only Hall and Fiennes, but also Kelly Macdonald, Steve Coogan and Hugh Laurie. While no one involved in “Holmes & Watson” would probably want this to be the one for which they are remembered, they all sure appeared to have had a blast making it.
“Holmes & Watson” opens Dec. 25 nationwide.