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Reviewer mystified by poor ratings for Holmes & Watson


By Spalding Today Columnist


FILM REVIEW:

HOLMES & WATSON (12A)

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CAST: WILL FERRELL, JOHN C REILLY, RALPH FIENNES, REBECCA HALL, KELLY McDONALD, ROB BRYDON, STEVE COOGAN & HUGH LAURIE

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 30 MINS

DIRECTOR: ETAN COHEN

Surely I’m not the only person that enjoyed this movie?

At the time of writing this review, I was amazed to see that Holmes & Watson was at an abysmal 0% on film aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

It was tempting for me to echo the thoughts of almost every review I’ve seen and say how awful the movie is (so not to stand out too much) but morally, I can’t do that.

They say that comedy is always subjective and that whether people find something funny relies on their assumptions, their understanding and their familiarity with certain references. Will Ferrell films are certainly an acquired taste. For me, I love the randomness of most of his films and Holmes & Watson is no exception.

Here’s the thing though . . . I can see why people weren’t particularly keen on it.

Firstly, the plot is a little too simple. Reuniting a decade after Step Brothers, Ferrell and John C Reilly (who will be soon alongside Steve Coogan in the forthcoming Stan and Ollie) are back as the titular characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

The film picks up after the evil Professor Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) has gone into hiding in America. When the Queen is threatened to be murdered in just a few days time, it is up to the duo to solve the mystery as to who potential the killer is – with all clues leading to Moriarty himself. And That’s about it for the ‘story’ part of proceedings.

Those that are a fan of the fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would likely expect a Holmes movie to have a juicy mystery that they can solve alongside the leads – but that just isn’t here.

Another criticism is that the incredible comedy talent involved in this movie are extremely under-used. Rebecca Hall, Kelly McDonald, Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan, and Hugh Laurie all appear – but simply as supporting characters that build up the jokes only for Ferrell and Reilly to be given the punchlines.

Even Fiennes feels like nothing more than a cameo – and he’s the main villain!

There is also some sloppy editing. To give you an example, there is a moment where Watson is giving an autopsy with a female fellow doctor. They play ‘Unchained Melody’ in the background whilst flirting. Just as I was expecting a twisted take on the famous clay moment, the scene cuts. There were other parts similar to this where it felt like more should have been shown.

With so many negatives, you’re perhaps wondering why I’ve given this a reasonably good score. When I walk into a Ferrell movie, I expect something goofy with a whole bunch of one-liners thrown in and that’s exactly what I got. I was looking for a comedy where I could switch off my brain and just go with it. Holmes & Watson was just what I was looking for. If you like films like Step Brothers and Blades of Glory, you should get a kick out of this too.

I was laughing throughout – as was the audience I saw this movie with.

I’m honestly baffled by the huge amount of ‘one star’ reviews this has received, alongside numerous reports of people walking out.

I guess it all goes back to what I said at the start of my review – comedy is subjective.

You don’t have to be a sleuth to work that out.

Rating: 3.5/5 Mikey Clarke



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