This Christmas Step Brothers stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have finally reunited for a new comedy which fans hoped would be one of their favourite presents this year.
In the Sherlock Holmes spoof Holmes & Watson, Ferrell takes on the role of the famous consulting detective with Reilly playing his loyal companion Dr. John Watson.
And while you may be thinking ‘what can go wrong?’ Or ‘that sounds amazing’, let me tell you now the answer is everything. Absolutely everything.
You can check out the trailer for the film here:
Unlike most films Holmes & Watson wasn’t screened in advance for critics which is never normally a good sign as it indicates the studio knew the movie would be panned.
Which it was…
In fact, until earlier today Holmes & Watson had received a rare zero per cent on Rotten Tomatoes which meant not a single film critic had granted the movie a positive review.
At time of writing (December 27) this percentage has now been boosted to four per cent meaning out of the 25 reviews which have been aggregated on the website, only one rated Holmes & Watson as being fresh.
However, even that single review wasn’t exactly glowing as David Edelstein for Vulture wrote:
No brain cells are harmed by Holmes & Watson, just given a few hours to rest and regenerate.
To find out whether Holmes & Watson is as awful as the critics suggest it is, on the behalf of all you lovely readers I visited the cinema last night to watch the new comedy.
I actually had my ticket booked a week ago for the swankiest cinema in town as I adore the character of Sherlock Holmes, and Ferrell is my favourite comedic actor (he is Ron Burgundy after all) so I was pretty excited for Holmes & Watson.
Unfortunately if I wasn’t so comfy in my luxury recliner seat, I would have joined those who walked out about midway through as Holmes & Watson is awful, just awful.
The only good thing I can say about Holmes & Watson is that it isn’t the worst film I have seen this year (I’m looking at you Book Club), but it is certainly the most disappointing.
Not even the dream team of Ferrell and Reilly can solve the crime that is Holmes & Watson. It can’t even really be described as a comedy as there isn’t a single laugh in the entire film. Not a single one!
And I know it isn’t just me who didn’t find the film funny as in the sold-out screening I was in, of about 50 people, I didn’t hear a chuckle or laugh once from any member of the audience.
Which explains why about one quarter of the audience picked up their jackets and walked out; a smart decision.
To check whether it was just that audience, I looked on Twitter to see what others thought of the film.
I couldn’t find a single positive tweet about Holmes & Watson, which is quite an achievement in itself.
Take a look:
Holmes and Watson is literally the worst movie we’ve ever seen 😂
— taco rocket (@lindsuhhhh) December 25, 2018
Holmes and Watson is horrible …this is almost the worst movie I have ever seen, it just keeps getting worse, not even stupid funny (why not do the typical Ferrell movie?) we are dying and not even watching it. @CoachCWC
— Christy Christian (@Dreamajojo77) December 25, 2018
#HolmesAndWatson was the farthest slide from comedy I’ve had the unpleasant opportunity to view. Tragic end to a comedic era.
— RJ Birtsch (@RyanWithAnO) December 25, 2018
@HolmesAndWatson is an absolute disaster. Had to wake up 3 other family members 40 minutes in just to walk out. Possibly overtakes Ishtar as worse movie of all time! Don’t waste your $ or time! #HolmesandWatson
— GA for NU (@Coach_Devaney) December 25, 2018
While there is plenty wrong with the film, Holmes & Watson most damning crime as a comedy is in being painfully unfunny. I was left rolling my eyes, audibly sighing and cringing at how each ‘joke’ falls flat.
And it isn’t even so bad it’s good which could have potentially saved it!
Written and directed by Etan Cohen, who was responsible for the script of the fantastic Tropic Thunder, the dialogue is continually awkward, fumbling, lazy and limp, relying on repetitive gags which get worse each time they are used.
Admittedly a few well placed digs at Donald Trump did crack a wry smile at points, but that’s just because I love it when people take the p*ss out of the Donald.
However, the rest of the gags, which rely on either mocking the Victorian era, laughing at Holmes’ ego, or bad sex/willy jokes, just don’t work.
And when you think the underwhelming Ferrell-Reilly double act couldn’t confuse you any further Ferrell suddenly starts singing, turning the ‘comedy’ into a musical for a full-on five minutes.
It was at this surreal, bizarre and particularly low point more of the audience decided to leave.
I could still see a Sherlock Holmes parody/comedy movie working, even with Ferrell and Reilly in the two leading roles, but this attempt falls desperately short.
Normally the pair are quite the dynamic duo, but the usual hilarious chemistry is severely lacking in Holmes & Watson thanks to a poor script.
At times it appears Ferrell and Reilly aren’t even trying as if they read the cr*p script and thought ‘well this will never work, why even bother giving it anywhere near my all?’
Throughout Holmes & Watson several great British comedic actors make appearances including Hugh Laurie, Steve Coogan, and Rob Brydon, which leaves me wondering how on Earth they were convinced to take part in the project?
Did they not see the script beforehand?
I also have to question how the great Ralph Fiennes ended up in the film… I mean c’mon Ralph, really?!?
At least if you do go see Holmes & Watson (although why would you so wantonly waste your time?) you will only be wasting 90 minutes of your life.
I am now going to have to rewatch Step Brothers to remind myself of the good times Ferrell and Reilly have had, maybe throw in some Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to restore the natural order of things.
And on that note, I may even stick on Guy Ritchie’s fantastic adaptation of Sherlock Holmes which, despite being mostly a crime thriller, has more jokes in its first five minutes than in the whole of Holmes & Watson.
Holmes & Watson is currently in cinemas now but I recommend you go see the wonderful Mary Poppins Returns or the fantastic Bumblebee instead as you won’t regret seeing those films!
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.