Holmes & Watson is an American action-mystery comedy film directed and written by Etan Cohen. The film stars Will Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes and John C. Reilly as John Watson, with additional performances by Lauren Lapkus, Rob Brydon, Kelly Macdonald, Rebecca Hall, Ralph Fiennes, and Hugh Laurie. Filming began in December 2016, and the film was released on December 25, 2018 in the United States.
The film grossed over $41 million worldwide on a $42 million budget and was panned by critics, who lamented the poor script, dated jokes and its squandering of the cast and source material. Some critics labelled it the worst film of 2018. Numerous sources reported that audiences walked out early during screenings. The film was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards, and won four of them, including Worst Picture.
In 1881, Sherlock Holmes meets and befriends John Watson. Years later, Holmes is viewed as a legendary detective. Both he and Watson are to view the trial of Professor James Moriarty, but are temporarily waylaid by a package sent by Moriarty and brought to them by their housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson. Once at the trial, Holmes declares that the man on trial is not Moriarty and is instead someone named Jacob Musgraves, who is incapable of committing the murders due to tremors in his hand caused by excessive masturbation. Despite unsuccessful attempts by Inspector Lestrade to convince Holmes that his deduction is incorrect, Holmes is convinced that Moriarty is currently traveling to the United States.
After the trial the duo travel to Buckingham Palace to attend a surprise party, where they discover a corpse inside of a birthday cake along with a message from Moriarty, stating that Queen Victoria will die in two days' time. During the autopsy Holmes and Watson meet Dr. Grace Hart and the feral Millie. Watson and Holmes become enamored with Grace and Millie, respectively. By the end of the autopsy Watson declares that the corpse's death is indeterminable, while Holmes believes that the person was poisoned. Furthermore, he believes that the poison came from Gustav Cringer. The pair eventually locate Cringer, who is indeed in league with Moriarty. Before Cringer can reveal anything, he is murdered.
Holmes decides that he must seek help from his brother Mycroft, who tells him that the murderer is someone close to him. Holmes mistakenly believes Watson to be the murderer and has him arrested. He comes to regret this decision, causing his emotions to return. Holmes goes to Watson's cell, only to find it empty save for a plate filled with red velvet cake crumbs. Deducing that his housekeeper made the cake and that Watson left the crumbs to send him a message, he tracks Watson and Mrs. Hudson, who is revealed to be Moriarty's daughter, to the Titanic, where the murder of the Queen is to take place. After apologizing to and freeing Watson, they rush to the main room where they discover a bomb, which Watson throws out a window. The bomb lands in Mrs. Hudson's boat, killing her.
The pair are congratulated by the Queen, only for Holmes to defer the credit to Watson. The pair reconnect with Grace and Millie, the latter of whom reveals that her feral personality was an act to manipulate men. Each pair shares a kiss before Grace and Millie head out on the Titanic. After returning home, Holmes proudly displays a plaque on their building showing that Watson is a co-detective, finally giving him the recognition he desires. Later, Holmes and Watson confront Moriarty in a bar in the United States.
- Will Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes
- John C. Reilly as John Watson
- Rebecca Hall as Dr Grace Hart
- Ralph Fiennes as Professor Moriarty
- Rob Brydon as Inspector Lestrade
- Kelly Macdonald as Mrs Hudson
- Justin Kroll, "Rob Brydon, Kelly Macdonald and Rebecca Hall Join ‘Holmes and Watson’", Variety, 17 November 2016.
- Borys Kit, "Ralph Fiennes, Hugh Laurie Join Will Ferrell in Sony's 'Holmes and Watson'", Hollywood Reporter, 6 January 2017.
- Patrick Hipes, "‘Holmes & Watson’ Trailer: Elementary, My Dear Ricky Bobby", Deadline, 28 September 2018.
- Sean O'Connell (December 26, 2018). "Holmes And Watson Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think". Retrieved December 26, 2018.