“HOLMES & WATSON” D.O.A. COMEDY; “FOX” WINTER TV PREVIEW
A Film and TV Review by Tim Riley
“HOLMES & WATSON” Rated PG-13Unless the rules have changed, a film billed as a comedy is supposed to be funny, especially when the lead characters are Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. After all, they scored plenty of laughs in “Talladega Nights” and “Step Brothers.”
They are now reunited in “Holmes & Watson,” intended to mine laughs from the story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective and sidekick. Instead, what Sony dumped into theaters on an unsuspecting public should win honors as the worst film of the year.
The origin story does not begin well. Ferrell’s Sherlock Holmes is first seen at an English boarding school where he is bullied and taunted. His crush on a pretty classmate ends up with the young lad tricked into kissing the rear end of a donkey (yeah, don’t ask).
Holmes gets his revenge by using his brain to get the entire student population expelled with the exception of Reilly’s Watson. Thus, a lifelong bond is formed between the two.
The professional partnership formed between old friends has Doctor Watson eagerly trying to establish his legitimacy as co-detective, a title that Holmes seems not so interested in bestowing.
The detective’s arch-nemesis is, of course, Professor Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), first seen on trial for heinous crimes. In the courtroom, the judge impatiently waits for Holmes to turn up as the witness for the prosecution.
Meanwhile, Holmes appears oblivious to the time of his court appointment, as he prances around practicing a dramatic entrance all the while trying on a variety of hats, including a fez that says “Make England Great Again,” an anachronistic jab if there ever was one.
Even when he makes it to court with only seconds to spare before the judge would have no choice but to dismiss the defendant, Holmes botches his testimony such that the criminal mastermind is set free to the horrified chagrin of Inspector Lestrade (Rob Brydon).
With the masterful stroke of an inept performance, Holmes comes across as a buffoon whose supposed power of reasoning and logic is completely shattered. But there are no laughs or even giggles to be had with the detective’s clown show.
Watson fares no better in the smarts department. He is even fooled by Holmes’ disguise when he puts on a fake mustache in his presence. It doesn’t get any better when Watson goes undercover as a vendor of horse manure.
Most of the characters are wasted. Rebecca Hall turns up as American doctor Grace Hart, later re-enacting a famous movie scene with Watson. Her assistant Millie (Lauren Lapkus) is a mute who was raised by feral cats.
As the film comes to a merciful end, Moriarty is hanging out in a saloon where Holmes and Watson are disguised as cowboys. If you stayed in the theater this long, that would be unfortunate.
FOX NETWORK WINTER
Just like any network, FOX will run with proven commodities. Thus a famous celebrity chef returns with “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” as he seeks to rescue dining establishments across the country on the brink of disaster.
Anyone knows that a restaurant is a high-risk business. Chef Ramsay and his crew transform struggling restaurants with spectacular renovations, fresh new menus and hope for the future.
What’s fresh for the winter is “The Masked Singer,” hosted by Nick Cannon, with panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke, delivering a top-secret singing competition that features celebrities facing off against one another.
The major twist is that each singer is shrouded from head to toe in an elaborate costume, complete with full face mask to conceal his or her identity. The celebrity guests are apparently well-known, including ones with loads of Grammy and Emmy award nominations.
“The Passage,” based on author Justin Cronin’s best-selling trilogy of the same name, is an expansive, character-driven thriller that focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous virus.
When a young girl is chosen to be a test subject, a federal agent (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is tasked with bringing her in, but ultimately, becomes her surrogate father, determined to protect her at any cost.
The Tony Award-winning musical “Rent” is the next live musical production for FOX. The staging of a live production worked when the network presented “Grease: Live.” But Fox still has to catch up with NBC’s better track record in the musical arena.
“Rent” is set in New York City’s gritty East Village, telling the unforgettable story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of social and political turmoil.
“Proven Innocent,” a legal drama starring Kelsey Grammer and Rachelle Lefevre, tells the emotional story of one woman’s fight for the innocence of others, as well as her own.
The series follows an underdog criminal defense firm led by a fierce lawyer, who was wrongfully convicted in a sensational murder case that made her an infamous media obsession, a household name and a national cause célèbre.