Sunday, 28 July 2019

Holmes & Watson ☆☆☆☆☆

Oh my. Holmes and Watson has achieved a very impressive feat. It has managed to be even worse than the critical and audience panning had led me to believe. I’d heard the horror stories about this absolute cinematic disaster but I was sure they couldn’t all be right. Nothing is that bad. But my goodness, the legends are true. Holmes and Watson is just an abomination of writing, acting, directing, editing…everything. There are no positives here whatsoever. But let’s talk about Holmes and Watson, the winner of four of 2019’s Razzie Awards – including Worst Picture.

For those of you who have avoided all knowledge of this disgrace even existing, do yourself a favour and get out of here. Save yourself. Knowing this exists will only make your life worse. Nothing good can come of knowing Holmes and Watson is out there. Run.

Still here? OK. Well, the film follows Detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they join forces to investigate a mysterious murder at Buckingham Palace. It seems like an open-and-shut case as all signs point to Professor James Moriarty, the criminal mastermind and longtime nemesis of the crime-solving duo. When new twists and clues begin to emerge, the world's greatest sleuth and his trusted assistant must now use their legendary wits and ingenious methods to catch the killer before the Queen becomes the next victim.

Reading that now gives me hope. Forgetting that it’s a comedy, I look at that synopsis and think “hey, a new Holmes film, that could be good”. The Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law ones were great. But this is not great. This is not even remotely good. Despite reuniting the Step Brothers themselves and former Talladega Nights teammates, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, this is not fit to lick the shit off those former films’ boots. 

So just what about Holmes and Watson is so bad. Well, it’s difficult to put into words. First of all, for a comedy, it is painfully unfunny to a point of agony. Whether the jokes are puerile and juvenile to a point that even schoolboys would cringe, or they’re considerably dated, or just downright offensive, there are absolutely no laughs to be had. The performances from our leads are just bizarre in how shockingly awful they are – Ferrell’s English accent, in particular, is almost impossible to listen to without feeling sick and angry in equal measure that a whole film has been built around it. John C. Reilly, the far superior actor in the pair, fares slightly better but still doesn’t come out smelling of anything other than shit. A shame, as Reilly had otherwise a brilliant year – The Sisters Brothers, Stan & Ollie and Ralph Breaks The Internet were all terrific.

A supporting cast of Ralph Fiennes, Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Rebecca Hall, Kelly Macdonald and Hugh Laurie are all completely phoning it in and making a remarkably tiny effort that it would take a microscope to see. The direction and structure of the film are abysmally amateur, the screenplay from Etah Cohen (not Ethan Coen) is an absolute travesty and the whole thing just looks and feels cheap. 

This whole review has actually been pretty generous because to tell you how I really feel about Holmes and Watson would be a much angrier and inappropriate rant. Instead, I am trying to be civil. As such, I will end by discussing a good point of Holmes and Watson so that my review hasn’t been entirely negative. There’s a really good bit in the film when it ends. That’s all I’ve got. Steer clear of Holmes and Watson, you owe it to yourself to not put yourself such a cinematic disgrace.

Sam Love

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