• [REVIEW] Homes & Watson

    From Your Name@21:1/5 to All on Wed Dec 26 14:08:18 2018
    Unsurprisingly, the movie is a load of crap.

    From Variety.com ...

    Film Review: 'Holmes & Watson'
    The idea of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Sherlock Holmes
    and Dr. John Watson may be amusing, but the duo's clueless
    execution spoils the joke.

    Judging by the conspicuous lack of fanfare awaiting "Step
    Brothers" co-stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly's third
    feature pairing, the fact that critics weren't invited, and
    the faint odor of horse manure emanating from the theater on
    Christmas morning, one doesn't need to be a master detective
    to deduce that "Holmes & Watson" is a dud - not that the packed
    house for a 9 a.m. opening-day show seemed to mind.

    As far as Ferrell and Reilly are concerned, Sir Arthur Conan
    Doyle's unstumpable sleuth and the thankless sidekick who
    recorded his every exploit are not just a great crime-solving
    duo but one of the great bromances of English literature - and
    therefore a natural target for the two actors' ongoing
    exploration of dysfunctional friendships. The trouble is,
    Sherlock Holmes exists so large in audiences' minds already that
    the pair's uninspired take feels neither definitive nor
    especially fresh - just an off-brand, garden-variety parody.

    Is it funny, for instance, to spend an entire movie watching
    Ferrell's Holmes try on various hats, knowing that eventually
    Reilly, as Watson, is bound to steer him toward his trademark
    deerstalker? And what's the point in teasing the elaborate
    mental calculations needed to disable a boxing adversary when
    that particular device was treated with tongue in cheek nine
    short years ago, when Guy Ritchie concocted it for his own
    "Sherlock Holmes" reboot? At least in that case, the casting of
    Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson felt risky,
    whereas in writer-director Etan Cohen's version, the joke begins
    and ends with the concept of Ferrell and Reilly as these two

    The film's most inspired scene occurs before either actor appears,
    opening with an origin-story flashback to Holmes' boarding school
    past: It's elementary where he meets his dear Watson. This is also
    where Sherlock learns to suppress his emotions after being
    humiliated by a gang of cruel classmates, literally forcing the
    tears back up his cheeks.

    How many of the world's great minds were motivated by bullies? It
    would have been smart to explore what makes Holmes tick (in the
    books, he's so often portrayed as a one-dimensional savant), but
    that's as far as the movie takes the idea. Instead of further
    investigating Holmes' gift for logic as an especially extreme case
    of over-compensation, the script settles for feel-good buddy-movie
    treacle, suggesting that shutting down his feelings as a child
    later causes him to take his closest friend for granted (allowing
    Reilly to play a version of the same slighted-bestie dynamic in the
    Laurel and Hardy biopic "Stan & Ollie").

    While Ferrell and Reilly are riffing on their usual routine,
    alternating between slapstick (trying to kill a mosquito before
    unleashing a case of killer bees) and silly improv (as in a long
    string of faux-19th-century synonyms for "onanism"), Cohen has
    assembled an impressive cast of British thespians whose only
    requirement appears to be keeping straight faces while the co-stars
    cut up. And so the movie squanders Ralph Fiennes as Moriarty, Hugh
    Laurie (who played Watson opposite Stephen Fry's Holmes) as
    Sherlock's older brother Mycroft, and Steve Coogan as a one-armed
    tattoo artist (a colorful full-Cockney creation who very nearly
    steals the show).

    Had these supporting players actually been permitted to act, it
    almost certainly would have upstaged Ferrell's self-conscious
    technique of mugging to camera - which feels slightly less odd when
    Reilly is there, pretending to be his audience. The two actors have
    established a certain chemistry by this point that not only sells
    Holmes and Watson's friendship but gives the impression that we're
    being allowed in on a private joke. It's as if everyone else -
    including the queen of England (Pam Ferris) - is there to stand
    around and indulge them while they grandstand for one another's

    And yet, what would a Sherlock Holmes movie be without a case to
    solve? Here, "Get Hard" writer-director Cohen has whipped up a
    rather basic one from which to string the comic set-pieces: Someone
    has threatened Queen Victoria's life and is committing murders made
    to look like the work of Moriarty - or maybe they are, and Holmes
    simply doesn't have a clue. This is hardly the first Sherlock Holmes
    send-up to suggest the sleuth wasn't as smart as history has led us
    to believe, although it may well be the first time that history
    itself serves as the satire's principal target.

    Woven throughout the movie is a critique of the now-outdated notions
    that would have been acceptable at the time, from Holmes' fondness
    for cocaine to the sheer incredulity he and Watson display when
    confronted with "a woman doctor" in the form of Rebecca Hall (whose
    modernity is directly contrasted by scene-stealing companion Lauren
    Lapkus, playing to hilarious extremes the misogynist caricature of a
    woman too uncouth to think for herself). Add to that a running joke
    in which Holmes and Watson are credited with any number of
    21st-century inventions - from drunk texting ("the intoxograph") to
    selfies - and the movie comes off feeling more like the travails of
    two contemporary buffoons at large in Victorian England, which may
    also explain the frequent, anachronistic use of hip-hop on the

    If some of the above sounds amusing enough to warrant a look, let the
    record show that Ferrell, Reilly, and Cohen each have far more
    malodorous credits to their name. Heck, even Sherlock Holmes has
    survived worse stinkers. But the characters offer so much more
    promise than anyone here chooses to exploit - give Billy Wilder's
    "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" a look, or sample revisionist
    "Without a Clue" for a clever twist - and passing up that opportunity
    is a crime graver than any Moriarty threatens to commit.


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