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  Holmes & Watson Dum-Dum Dicks
Year: 2018
Director: Etan Cohen
Stars: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Hall, Rob Brydon, Kelly Macdonald, Lauren Lapkus, Pam Ferris, Ralph Fiennes, Steve Coogan, Hugh Laurie, Nathan Osgood, Michael Culkin, Kieran O'Brien, Oliver Maltman, David Stoller, Gerard Monaco, Billy Zane
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Here's Doctor John Watson (John C. Reilly) to relate how he and the world's most famous detective Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) met, the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Things had been going badly for Watson, so he was contemplating suicide and happened to try to jump from the roof above an allotment where Holmes was growing an enormous, prize marrow. When he noticed Watson above, he tried to suggest alternative methods of ending it all to save his marrow, but the unfortunate man believed he was trying to talk him out of it and fell anyway, accidentally. The marrow broke his fall, and the rest is history - history that may end soon, if Moriarty has his way.

Holmes & Watson angered a lot of people, and not merely the Sherlock Holmes purists, as tales of mass walkouts in theatres after this was dumped there in the Christmas week abounded. The critics sharpened their knives, boosted by tales of disastrous test screenings, a lazy production relying too much on the cast coming up with their own jokes, and the project being shelved after completion until Columbia could sneak it out to fulfil their contract, but failing to offer it much in the way of publicity. It appeared even those involved in its creation were embarrassed by it, even ashamed, and the result was a box office bomb that went down as one of the worst of the decade.

However, and this always seems to happen, or often at any rate, there were those who began to speak up for this orphaned film, pointing out that its humour was no more ridiculous than the previous comedy by Ferrell and Reilly, Step Brothers, and that had suffered bad reviews as well before being embraced by a cult of fans. It was accurate to observe this was very much in the vein of that previous effort, with an identical sense of humour, though the relationship between the two leads was rather more amicable, but what really rubbed audiences up the wrong way was that they were being asked to be entertained by two stars looking as if they were the height of self-indulgence.

Nevertheless, this did pick up some appreciation, mostly from those who thought, damn the general reaction, I'm going to make up my own mind. True, there were a fair few hatewatchers who viewed it specifically to detest it and boldly claim they had sat through the worst comedy of recent years, yet what of those who found themselves responding to the relentless stupidity and genuinely laughing? No, the purists were not going to have a great time, but they didn't like BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch either, and that was enormously popular, taking if anything even more liberties with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creations than you would witness here. The point was, in this the world's greatest detective was a complete idiot, as per the usual Ferrell interpretation of his characters.

And Watson was a buffoon as well, meaning you had Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) pitting his wits against not a genius and his partner in justice, but two silly billies he would have no trouble running rings around. There was a mystery here, and it was no better or worse than many other Holmes knock-offs, including Without a Clue, where Michael Caine also played Sherlock as a diddy, with Ben Kingsley's Watson as the brains of the operation, so what that left you with was a succession of sketchlike scenes where the duo would exercise their most absurd instincts as writer and director Etan Cohen placed them in a plot that was so poor at factual history that it must have been a parody of Hollywood's notoriously poor grasp of the subject. What it boiled down to was whether something this ludicrous made you laugh, that was its sole purpose, and if you were not too hung up on tradition, or your image as a refined appreciator of quality entertainment, then you could loosen up and admit: Holmes & Watson was very funny. Not clever in any way, but sometimes you needed to watch an item of preposterous giggles to blow away some stuffy old cobwebs. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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