For a film that is a comedy, one usually wants to escape and laugh. That the three quarters full cinema was dead quiet except for one chuckle says a lot. Forced laughter is the name of the game here, but trying to laugh at a movie that simply isn’t funny is a chore. So if it isn’t funny, does it have any redeeming qualities?
A classic fictional character is torn to pieces and here he morphs into a idiotic buffoon, a cringe-worthy turn from Will Ferrell, whose acting is worse than the treatment of the character. It is incredibly clear just how hard he is trying to be funny, and the same applies to the writing. Despite trying so hard, they don’t succeed in any way.
Director Etan Cohen also felt the need to insert snippets of political satire, falling spectacularly, breaking its jaw and sending teeth flying across the screen. We all know that Trump is a twit, but Cohen seemed to think it was a good idea to have a jab at an obvious target, a jab that again is simply not funny. The same applies to the ‘jokes’ involving America’s love of firearms.
The only positive aspects of the film are the chemistry between Ferrell and Reilly and the inclusion of comic greats such as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. To see Ralph Fiennes name in the credits at the start of the film was briefly exciting, but perhaps unsurprisingly, all three feature in about ten minutes of the film. Combined. Nearly the entirety of the movie features Ferrell and Reilly acting like morons, and while this was obviously the intention, the attempts to create comical versions of Watson and Holmes is embarrassing.
If it isn’t funny, and it is labelled as a comedy, what else is here? The plot, if you could call it that, is absurdly basic and absurdly executed: the queen’s life has been threatened and despite their idiotic antics, they are trusted with the job. Nearly every scene is predictable, such as the many times Holmes plans an attack in his mind only to fail in a way that will only elicit laughs from hardcore fans of Ferrell.
It is a pity for Reilly as, unlike the one note Farrell, Reilly has range in his acting abilities, displayed recently in The Lobster – a comedy that is actually funny – and this year’s The Sisters Brothers, a western that, while not perfect, features a 180 degree turn from Reilly compared to his clumsy depiction of Watson here. If you have seen a Will Ferrell comedy, you have seen this. Save your money. This isn’t Stepbrothers. No, this is a comic disaster captured on film. There is simply nothing more to say.
1 beer out of a sixer. But to be honest, it doesn’t even deserve that.
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