The 1988 Michael Caine/ Ben Kingsley movie “Without A Clue” asked what would happen if Holmes was actually an idiot and Dr Watson was the genius but “Holmes & Watson” dares to ask what if they were both imbeciles, in a crass and witless farce? The answer is excrementary, my dear reader.
When the trial of Professor Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) collapses after Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) exposes the accused as a lookalike patsy, the real Professor seemingly announces a plot to murder Queen Victoria (Pam Ferris). It’s up to Holmes and Doctor Watson (John C Reilly) to solve the case before the master criminal wreaks terrible vengeance on the British Empire.
Written and Directed by Etan Cohen, it’s difficult to say how much of his original script makes it to the screen as scene after scene of excruciatingly, aggressively unfunny improvised ‘bits’ as Ferrell and Reilly try to out-silly each other, possibly in a selfish competition to make each other corpse.
Speaking of corpses, we can at least now be sure Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s long-standing fascination and belief in the supernatural and spiritual is complete bunkum because if there was any kind of afterlife, his wrathful spirit would surely have returned and wreaked a terrible vengeance on everyone involved in this cinematic abomination.
This isn’t just the worst film of 2018 (sorry, “Mile 22” and “The Cloverfield Paradox”), it’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and the very first movie I’ve ever been sorely tempted to just walk out of, after less than half an hour. So many fine performers are dragged down by this unholy mess of a movie which fails on every single level. It’s so profoundly, intensely unfunny that it collapses in on itself to become a super-dense particle of anti-comedy, dragging in any residual amusement you may have from other sources until you feel like you may never laugh again.