Naturally when I read that a new Sherlock Holmes spoof was being derided by critics and audiences alike as the “Worst Picture” of 2018 my (slightly masochistic) curiosity was piqued… but then when I watched the trailer for Holmes & Watson, I felt a guilty/sinking suspicion that I might actually quite enjoy seeing it… and sadly, dear reader, that proved to be the case! Sigh.
Now, there’s no question that this is the worst/least-funny movie that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have made together (as well as one of the worst that either of them has ever appeared in, full stop), but for some stupid, shameful, inexplicable reason it kept me chuckling all the way through… not laughing, as such, but amused enough to emit some sort of audible expression of mirth. It currently boasts a “freshness” rating of just 10% at Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience score of 27%, and there are numerous reports that people walked out of the cinema early when it was first exhibited, so there’s no way in Hell that I’d recommend (or even meekly suggest) it to anyone as a viewing option, but… God help me, I am kinda curious to see what extras (if any) there’ll be on the DVD release (if it gets one), in case I wind up buying it in a charity shop someday! Gah!
Under the circumstances, it might actually be kinder at this juncture not to name the female cast members, but I did really enjoy Lauren Lapkus’s performance as a mute woman who was raised by feral cats, even though Rebecca Hall was completely wasted as her psychiatric trustee (and Watson’s love interest). If only Riki Lindhome and Natasha Leggero had been cast in those roles (or better yet, as Watson & Holmes), then they might have been able to punch-up the jokes in the style of Another Period… but that show’s been cancelled now, and all is wrong with the world…
Meanwhile, I do love the idea of Kelly Macdonald playing Moriarty’s revenge-crazed daughter posing as the detective’s kindly housekeeper, even though in practice that twist was very clumsily fumbled, and the script didn’t really give her anything to do as an actress in either persona. At least she got to use her home-grown Scottish accent again, which (as a southern Englisher) I always appreciate hearing.