Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly keep threatening to make a sequel to 2009’s Step Brothers, their second and superior joint outing. Instead, this holiday season we’re getting Holmes & Watson, a parody of a property that is already a “serious” franchise. Still, when was the last time we got a Sherlock Holmes entry, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law? You snooze you lose, Downey and Law, even if you are officially working on a third entry that will be out in 2020.
Till then, there’s the Holmes & Watson trailer, which paints the pair not as a brainiac and his “only” really, really smart assistant — that’s Ferrell and Reilly, respectively — as a pair of boobs who’ve been inexplicably revered as top shelf sleuths. But perhaps the best joke? The supporting cast is really, stunningly, almost obnoxiously impressive — maybe moreso than the roster in the Downey-Law pictures.
There’s Kelly Macdonald and Rebecca Hall, plus Hugh Laurie, plus a Trip reunion with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. And whereas Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows could only get excellent character actor Jared Harris to play mighty Holmes foe Professor Moriarty, the dumb comedy with Ferrell and Reilly scored no less than Ralph Fiennes. It’s like a real Sherlock Holmes movie!
The only real cause for pause is this: Talladega Nights and Step Brothers were both directed by Adam McKay. When Ferrell is directed by McKay — as in the Anchormans and The Other Guys — the comedic star goes next level. Holmes & Watson, meanwhile, was helmed by Etan Cohen, who the Ferrell-Kevin Hart team-up Get Hard.
We’d like to think Holmes & Watson will inspire Sherlock Holmes series auteur Guy Ritchie to put his threequel on hold, and then prioritizing his much-needed sequel to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Of course, if Holmes & Watson is an earth-quaking hit, it will be mildly amusing to see the two franchises having to battle at the box office.
The film will be the first big team-up between Ferrell and Reilly since Step Brothers, though they’ve both since appeared, mostly separately, in Anchorman 2 and Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. Reilly can currently be seen in theaters, in straight-faced mode, in the acclaimed Western The Sisters Brothers.