Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s “Holmes & Watson” has been absolutely crushed by critics, with some pointing out failed attempts to mock President Trump sprinkled throughout the film.
The “Stepbrothers” duo, along with director Etan Cohen, attempted to parody Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic stories about Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. Watson. But the film has earned “rotten status” on Rotten Tomatoes, with a stunningly low 4 percent of reviews being considered positive. The site also indicated that only 24 percent of viewers have liked the movie so far.
One of the harshest takedowns of the film was written by The Hollywood Reporter’s Frank Scheck, who noticed “a strange amount of anachronistic Donald Trump-related humor” in the film.
Scheck wrote that “Holmes & Watson” includes “bit about fake news and red MAGA hats (here reading "Make England Great Again") that fall utterly flat in this context,” but the lame attempts to bash Trump aren’t even the worst part of the project in the eyes of this critic.
“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,” Scheck wrote.
The Los Angeles Times said the movie is “like a cross between a raunchy ’80s comedy and a Daffy Duck cartoon,” that messes with the classic Holmes mythology.
“One of the more zingy recurring gags has Sherlock and Watson casually offering each other heroin and cocaine, riffing on Holmes’ frequent drug use in Doyle’s stories,” LA. Times’ Noel Murray wrote before adding, “An extended dig at President Trump comes off as smug.”
While some critics didn’t appreciate the political humor and botched mythology, others simply didn’t think the movie was funny.
Variety’s Peter Debruge asked, “Is it funny, for instance, to spend an entire movie watching Ferrell’s Holmes try on various hats, knowing that eventually Reilly, as Watson, is bound to steer him toward his trademark deerstalker?”
“The target audience for this movie is someone who knows that masturbation was seen as the cause of numerous physical maladies in the Victorian era, and also thinks Will Ferrell peeing his pants is hilarious,” Entertainment Weekly’s Dana Schwartz wrote.
“It’s an unexpected low point from two great actors,” Newsday’s Rafer Guzman wrote. “’Holmes & Watson’ is one of those movies that goes beyond unfunny and into a comedy-cubist zone, where jokes are no longer recognizable and laughter is philosophically impossible.”