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Granted, it's only 12 reviews. The movie didn't press screen, prompting critics to drag themselves to theaters over the holiday to see if Will Ferrell as the legendary detective and John C. Reilly as his trusted partner could generate some laughs. Well, they didn't. The reviews have been savage, with Ben Kenigsberg of the New York Times writing:
As the movie stands, smuggling in booze to dispel the sense of dull routine could only help.
The consensus on the whodunit appears to be that it coasts for a little while on the chemistry of the two men, who have appeared together in memorable comedies like Step-Brothers and Talladega Nights. However, without Adam McKay at the helm, the guys have to carry too much of the load, and THR writes:
You can feel the flop sweat emanating from the third onscreen pairing of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. ... Holmes & Watson features the duo parodying Arthur Conan Doyle's famous characters to devastatingly unfunny effect. Numerous talented British thespians are wasted in supporting roles in this Christmas turkey that, not surprisingly, wasn't screened in advance for critics. Although making them troop out to theaters Christmas morning is something of which even Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn't have approved.
Yeah, safe to say a few critics really took this movie to task just because it made them head to the theaters over the holiday. Can't say I blame them. But the movie also lacked any real reason to be excited about actually seeing the comedy. In the IndieWire review, David Ehrlich states:
Usually, you'd have to watch the Golden Globes to see this much wasted talent. As it stands, the only compelling mystery about Holmes & Watson is how so many funny people have been squeezed into such an unfunny movie, a movie that isn't nearly smart enough to recognize how stupid it should have been.
While the AV Club definitively summarizes:
If there are any new jokes left to tell about Holmes, they're nowhere to be found in the abysmal Holmes & Watson, which might be the worst feature-length film ever made about the 'consulting detective' from Baker Street.
Basically, stay away. Holmes & Watson doesn't work. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly certainly will work again. Probably even together. But this comedy hopefully taught them that they need to do more than just slide into the period costumes of two famous characters to make audiences laugh.
Did you see Holmes & Watson this week? Are the critics wrong? If you dug it, weigh below and let us know YOUR review of the new movie.