Starring John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell, Holmes & Watson combines comedy and mystery in this film about the famous London detective duo Sherlock Holmes and his trusted companion Dr. Watson.
Reimagined as a bumbling pair of fools, Holmes (Will Ferrell) here loses the thin hawkish nose, eagle-eyed vision, and acerbic wit. Watson (John C. Reilly) too is portrayed as something of a dolt, albeit a devoted one. Together, the two friends follow the threads of the mystery they’re charged with solving. And it’s a very important and pressing matter too. The Queen of England has been threatened with death by the villainous Dr. Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes). The rest of the story unfolds in typical fashion, staying true to the narrative’s roots and taking its stylistic cues from the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes (directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr.).
The humor and banter that Ferrell and Reilly create hasn’t changed too much from their prior work together. Though the movie’s a fair bit less sophomoric than the 2008 comedy Step Brothers, fans of these two comedians needn’t fear: there’s still plenty of silly low-brow humor, including vomit jokes and other physical gags. They also manage to finagle the ludicrous with humor. For instance, Watson is made the fool when Holmes convinces him that it’s necessary to slather himself in horse manure.
It’s certainly nothing new to see their buffoonery, but this time viewers are treated to a full movie of the two actors dressed to the nines and putting on a British accent The London setting is well-crafted. With the cobblestone streets of Victorian England at foot and the gloomy skies above, the film succeeds in evoking the era. It’s a good thing too, because part of the amusement lies in the contrast between British properness and the loss of composure or other clownish antics. Other laughs come from anachronisms, such as a self-shot photo with the Queen and drunken telegrams that mirror modern-day propensities.
Audiences looking for another excuse to see Ferrell and Reilly together again will certainly enjoy Holmes & Watson. The story, which moves along at an easy pace, is just compelling enough to carry the two from one comedic set piece to another. On the whole, the film puts forth a good effort to put the two comedians in a refreshing new light, and fans of this comedy team will certainly not be disappointed with the movie.
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