Movie Review: Holmes & Watson

By: Alex Gehrlein ‘19

Every couple of years we get a new Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Junior, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ian McKellen and a talking gnome have all taken up the hat and pipe within the past decade to varying success. I haven’t seen, nor do I ever intend on seeing, Sherlock Gnomes, but I am shocked to say that it seems like critics have looked more favorably on animated garden decorations than they have Holmes & Watson.

I love Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and would sincerely defend any of their past collaborations as being great works of comedic filmmaking. They may be silly, they may be dumb, but they came out at a time where I was just the right age for those things to reach me effectively. Step Brothers and Talladega Nights are endlessly quotable and completely unforgettable. I hope I can forget this film.

Nobody seems to be trying. The director, the writers, the cinematographer, the stars. Nobody. This is a movie intended to grab cash, and bank off of the audience’s attachments to the two stars. I can’t deny that Ferrell and Reilly have chemistry, even in this. I laughed out of excitement just from seeing the two of them back together on the screen. One would think that such an easily recognizable and perfectly parodiable property as Sherlock Holmes would give two upper class comedians enough material to make a dozen movies before getting to something that is of such low quality. I just can’t understand it.

It’s not really worth going in to the technical aspects of this film; they’re all pretty bad. There are two good jokes in the movie and they’re about heroin and the Titanic. Everything else just comes off as lazy improv, but there’s nothing on the same level as even the outtakes to a film like Talladega Nights (“I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T shirt…”).

This was a good idea for a film executed with no thought behind it. The people working on this film have managed to make even crazier stuff work before, but can’t pull through on a simple Sherlock parody. Avoid this movie. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the previously mentioned films, you’ll hate this movie. If you know and love them, you’ll be depressed.