Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes stories are so plentiful that any literary aficionado definitely has their favorite onscreen pairing of the elusive detective and his loyal assistant John Watson. Sadly, a third film about Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s crime-solving duo won’t debut until 2020, while the Sherlock pair of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman seems to be on perennial hiatus. If you’re cool with an unorthodox but hilarious painting of literature’s most famous friends, the Holmes & Watson trailer reunites funnymen Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly for what looks like an uproarious Victorian mystery.
Hitting theaters on Christmas Day this year, Holmes & Watson follows the Step Brothers co-stars in a new Sherlock Holmes mystery calling Holmes and Dr. Watson to investigate a murder that has occured at Buckingham Palace. Ferrell dons Holmes’ iconic deerstalker hat in the film’s Victorian London setting, while Reilly brings a slightly clueless air to the often reluctant assistant Watson. Appearing in author Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories as Holmes’ greatest adversary, Professor Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) threatens to kill Queen Victoria (Pam Ferris) if Holmes and Watson fail to makes sense of the murder case by the end of four days.
Don’t expect a brooding, cynical Sherlock in this comedy, because Ferrell’s detective, while supposedly still brilliant, isn’t as astute as we’d expect. The trailer shows Holmes unknowingly smashing a glass case containing a killer bee colony and thinking that a mustache is an adequate disguise. On the other hand, Reilly’s Watson is even more bumbling as he fangirls over Queen Victoria and harms her in the process of taking a "self-photograph."
In addition to Holmes’ fashion and Moriarty’s involvement, the trailer includes a reference to Holmes and Watson’s home at 221B Baker Street. IMDb also lists Kelly Macdonald as the men’s housekeeper Mrs. Hudson and Hugh Laurie as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. For now, these are the only nods to the characters’ literary counterparts, but we can look forward to introductions of some new characters.
As seen in the trailer, Rebecca Hall appears as Dr. Grace Hart, who helps Holmes and Watson with their murder case despite the men’s perplexion about working with a female doctor. Philomena star Steve Coogan also pops up in the trailer, but his role is unknown. At this rate, we might be as clueless about his character as Holmes and Watson turn out to be, but we’ll have to wait and see if he’s tied to the film’s own mystery at all.
While Reilly has previously turned down the possibility of making a Step Brothers 2 with Ferrell, it looks like these two have delivered the next best thing. Director and screenwriter Etan Cohen, whose writing credits includes Tropic Thunder and Men in Black 3, helms the production, and he’s even worked as a director of Ferrell before on the film Get Hard. The men’s final product might not be English teachers’ favorite Sherlock Holmes adaptation, but it looks like it’s time to welcome a humorous twist to the popular detective’s ever-growing film canon.
Holmes & Watson is in theaters on Dec. 25.
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