'Holmes & Watson' (2018) Movie Review
My hands shake as I write this. Shaking in anger from the abomination and assault on comedy that is Holmes & Watson. Make no mistake from here on for this is not a review, it’s a warning. A warning to save any poor soul that even remotely inquires about walking into a theater to see Will Ferrell’s obnoxious man-child buffoonery in this… thing. I will not call this a movie. Movies have plot points, characters, a story arc of some sort; none of these aspects are present in Holmes & Watson. I will not call this a comedy. Comedies, even bad ones, have punch lines and timing in its humor. There is no real punch line. There is no timing. Not even bad punch lines or sloppy timing. It is a string of scenes under the impression that it is being funny because Will Ferrell is yelling as loudly as he can about random things that don’t pertain to anything that is going on, or it thinks it’s making a joke when it calls out modern references in what is supposed to be set in the 1800’s, or the fact that someone is getting hit with something in the face or dances for no reason is what will really supply the laughs. No, Holmes & Watson, no. You are a terrible thing placed underneath my tree at Christmas because Santa Claus apparently hates humanity this year. I would have taken Santa shoving coal up my ass and throwing me into a lit fireplace as more of a thoughtful gift than Holmes & Watson, that sick twisted son of a b*tch! I hate Holmes & Watson and now I hate Santa Claus.
There is NO PLOT.
I’m really not exaggerating all that much when I say that there is no plot in Holmes & Watson, but here is all I could gather. Will Ferrell (No point in calling him Sherlock Holmes since he’s basically playing himself and not an actual character) and John Watson are given the task of attempting to foil Professor James Moriarty’s plot to kill the queen of England within five days. From there they go from one scene to the next improvising and adlibbing. That is it… That. Is. It.
Ha... It’s Funny Because…
An hour and a half of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly going from one scene to the next without any solid story arc being played out or charismatic characters being portrayed, none of that. It is simply them adlibbing their lines with raunchy and juvenile jokes that fall flat on their face. Hell, the actors constantly fall flat on their face throughout this monstrous creation without once resulting in a laugh or even the slightest half-chuckle out of pity. No. I didn’t make a sound of joy or gain any sort of amusement once during this ninety minute prison sentence. I watched in sheer anger as Ferrell screamed out lines like, “Watson has stuck a carrot up my bum”. Would you like to know why he yelled that line as loudly as possible into the camera? Because he was calling out for the maid. Did Watson stick anything, let alone a carrot, up Ferrell’s hairy butt? No. Was there any sort of context to this line? No. Was there any reason why this had to be left in the scene? No. He said it, so it must be funny. Butts and things going in them are funny. That’s all there is to it.
Ferrell goes through an assortment of hats in the string of sketches that’s supposed to be a film, one hat contains the phrase, “Make England Great Again” written onto it. Is there any sort of excuse why this was included? You already know the answer. No. Is that the only reference to Donald Trump? No. There’s a whole back and forth of dialog that clearly references Trump and his win as the President of the United States. Clever writing? No, it’s forced in about as well as a three hundred pound, hairy, inbred trucker named Marv trying to fit in a toddler’s shirt. It doesn’t work and you should be ashamed of yourself.
The whole damn thing is ‘Ha, it’s funny because we quoted Hanna Montana’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because Ferrell keeps puking in a bucket over and over again’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because they’re re-enacting a scene from the movie Ghost’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because they keep saying how healthy they are and then they do drugs that are illegal today’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because Donald Trump is President’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because the louder they yell the funnier it must be’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because they’re talking about masturbation’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because pee and poop’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because the maid has sex with a bunch of historical figures’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because they’re eating a raw onion for no reason’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because they’re drunk sexting through a telegraph’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because Holmes is a terrible human being to Watson’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because the climax takes place on the Titanic and they have to stop a bomb from exploding so that the Titanic is completely safe. And also Billy Zane walks on board and they literally just call him Billy Zane, not even pretending he’s even a character’. ‘Ha, it’s funny because they think they killed the queen and so they have to go through an entire scene making the guards believe that she’s still alive while ripping off Weekend at Bernie’s and so their only solution to the problem is to chop up the body so there isn’t any evidence, but just before they start cutting it turns out that the queen is completely fine and they move on as though nothing had ever happened’… STUPID.
There are so many scenes that just happen and hold no consequence or weight on anything else later on. Any scene could be cut right out of this and there would literally be no hint of something being missing. It would flow exactly the same, and by ‘flow’ I mean halt every five minutes to go on for another ten minutes of idiotic antics and god awful adlibbing. There’s nothing that leads into these scenes and there’s no plot thread to follow, every single one of these scenes can be switched out with one another and it would ‘flow’ exactly the same. The story is nonexistent; the opening scene is practically pointless since it is Ferrell and Reilly acting like morons before going to a trial against Moriarty, only to say that the man on trial isn’t actually Moriarty and the imposter is let go. That’s the end of that. The actual plot of Holmes and Watson trying to figure out how to make sure Moriarty doesn’t kill the queen within a time span of a week isn’t even introduced until over twenty minutes in. And that is merely an excuse for the two ‘characters’ to wander around aimlessly with their irritating tomfoolery long enough to stretch itself to the climax that resolves itself so quickly I thought there had to have been more… there was not.
I’m Sick of This.
I am sick of Will Ferrell’s schtick of being loud and obnoxious and that is somehow supposed to make a scene funny. It doesn’t, it makes it loud and obnoxious. I am not the biggest fan of Will Ferrell honestly, when I was younger I didn’t mind him so much but as I grew older I also grew less and less fond of his sense of humor. There are times, however, where I do believe that he can be really funny. His character of Ron Burgandy or his villainous role of Mugatu I find to be funny because they feel like actual characters. Yes, they are eccentric and certainly he tends to yell at times in those roles as well, but I feel it is more natural to the larger than life characters he portrays in Anchorman and Zoolander. Most everything else he does is just Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell and that has only gotten worse in the films he stars in recently, from Daddy’s Home one and two, The House, Get Hard, and now it is at an all time low with Holmes & Watson. Before now Ferrell simply annoyed me, but I hated him in this terrorism of all things funny. I despised every stupid mugging to the camera look he gave, every syllable uttered out of his mouth was nails on a chalkboard, every telegraphed prat fall and lame visual gag made me want to punch the closest person in sight and tell them “Hey, blame him”. I could not stand Will Ferrell here. He is not a character. He isn’t even trying to be a character. He is Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell with sort of an accent sometimes. At least John C. Reilly was trying his best to be a character, there just wasn’t any real material for him to work with. Ferrell was not trying. And the terrible things that ‘Holmes’ would do to Watson I believe the filmmakers were under the impression that it was funny, but it only made me hate this man more as he’s doing these awful and really stupid things to this man for no reason other than to play to the dumbest audience imaginable. At one point Ferrell poisons Watson, why? No real context that I’m aware of other than to have an excuse for Reilly to do a bunch of ridiculous things in front of the camera that no poison would ever realistically make a man do, but whatever. I digress.
Towards the end of the hell on Earth in theatrical form, it gives up even trying to be a movie with Will Ferrell looking directly into the camera and it immediately turns into a musical. Literally out of nowhere and for no reason other than it’s a ‘comedy’ so that means they can do anything absurd and it’ll be funny. That’s why there’s also telepathic communication between ‘Holmes’ and other characters. Doesn’t matter if it makes sense or if the world establishes a tone in which that can totally happen. No. Let’s just squeeze that in there without any setup for it to work, because not prepping a joke to work makes it work even better. This whole thing is just all the better because there’s no need for setup or context or comedic timing or character or story or dialog that feeds into the plot or a reason for a scene to be happening or directing or acting or editing or any of that crap! Who needs it? I sure don’t. Pointless. Just put anything you want on the screen for a couple hours and I’ll be sure to love every horrendous minute of it.
You Did It, Movie. You Broke Me.
That’s right, you broke me. I give up. You win. I hate you with every fiber of my being and I know that you hate me too. For years I thought that I didn’t much care for Will Ferrell when really I was wrong, he was the one that didn’t much care for me. He is the one that hated me. He hates me. The ‘movie’ hates me and I hate them right back. I hate him and I hate it. I hated every bad joke. Every stupid prat fall. Every dumb goofy face. Every scene was an eternity of rage for me. Something this bad has to try to be this bad. This didn’t accidentally happen, this horror was on purpose. It was an attack on my happiness for the evening and the mission was successful. It won. You won, Holmes & Watson, you won. You stopped me from enjoying my night. You stopped me from ever wanting to laugh for as long as I live. You stopped me from thinking that Santa Claus only delivered bad things to bad people. I like to think of myself as a good person, why did you do this to me Santa? Why? Maybe there is no good or bad. Maybe there is only the people who have seen Holmes & Watson and the lucky ones that haven’t. So don’t be like me folks, angered by an atrocity caught on film and cursing to an imaginary fat guy in a red suit. It’s not worth it. Watch anything else. This is the worst Sherlock Holmes movie I have ever seen. This is the worst Will Ferrell film I have ever seen. This is one of the worst comedic attempts of 2018. This is simply a terrible thing that should not be viewed. Don’t see it. Don’t think about seeing it. Don’t think about renting it. Don’t think about borrowing it. Don’t think about letting a friend see it. Don’t think about it, period. Leave this thing to die. Die. Die. Die. Die. Die. Just never see this if you love happiness or smiling or laughing or anything good in this world. Just don’t.
Okay… that’s all I got in me. I’m beat. I’m going to lay down in bed, stare up at the ceiling and think about what I did wrong in my life to lead me to where I am now. My heart hurts, my head hurts, and I am sad. Goodnight, everyone.
© 2019 John Plocar