This week I watched the trailer the for up-and-coming flick Holmes and Watson. The film stars Will Ferrell as the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes and John C. Reilly as his ever-present sidekick Dr. John Watson. As I’m sure you have guessed already, this is a comedy—to be honest, no one really needs to see the trailer to work that out. Sherlock has been adapted an inordinate amount of times, and at this point, I feel like every actor currently working in Hollywood has been in an adaptation of Sherlock down the line somewhere. There is a varying range of quality when it comes to Sherlock content as well as varying styles. This isn’t even the first comedic rendition—Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley have already provided us with some Sherlock-themed laughs in 1988’s Without a Clue.
After hearing about this adaptation with Ferrell and Reilly, I instantly thought that they would most likely follow the core idea from Without a Clue that Watson was the true genius while Sherlock was a fake (in the case of its predecessor, he was a hired, actor). Then, I watched the trailer… and that is not the case. Instead of merely one of them being a ‘dumb fake,’ the trailer just about sets up both to look intellectually challenged. The trailer starts by setting up the core premise for the film that Sherlock and Watson must solve a mystery in a set amount of time or else the Queen of England will be killed. While this seems pretty standard for a Sherlock plot, it’s given away that this is being orchestrated by none other than Moriarty, eliminating any tension that could have been set up to surround the villain at all. It’s not really a whodunnit if we already know who done it! The plot set up at the beginning of the trailer is surrounded by a non-stop stream of jokes and one-liners continuing on with just a glorified gag reel for the rest of the trailer. Out of all the jokes in the trailer, one made me giggle… while maybe one more made my cynical face crack the slightest of smiles. I didn’t find any of the joke’s offensive, they were mostly just cringe-worthy; the final and longest running joke in the trailer is the worst offender.
Obviously, I am not the target market for this film. While I do find Will Ferrell funny, he’s always been hit-or-miss for me, with most of his pairings with John C. Reilly not exactly delivering what I want from a comedy. But in regard to the trailer for Holmes and Watson, I can’t say it’s completely horrible. The concept may not work for me, but fans of the pairing and their comedy will probably enjoy it. The music was also used very well in a comedic fashion and the trailer is very clear on what tone it is trying to set. There is no way you could go into this film and not know exactly what you were going to get after viewing the trailer. For me personally, I think I’ll give Holmes and Watson a miss and just watch Without a Clue instead.