Holmes & Watson is a comic spoof on the famous stories of Sherlock Homes and his partner Watson. After foiling a plot by his archnemesis, Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), detective Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) and his loyal companion, Dr John Watson (John C. Reilly), investigate a murder and plot to kill the Queen (Pam Ferris). As they battle distractions in the form of their sex-addicted housekeeper, Mrs Hudson (Kelly Macdonald), and lovestruck scientist Dr Grace Hart (Rebecca Hall) and her odd companion Millie (Lauren Lapkus), Holmes and Watson realise that the mystery might be more complicated than they originally thought.
Death; misogyny; crime; drug and alcohol dependence; love.
Holmes & Watson has some violence. For example:
- There’s frequent slapstick violence with few consequences. For example, characters slap each other, hit people with bats and so on.
- Holmes poisons Watson, who begins to froth at the mouth – this is supposed to be funny.
- Some vagrant women in the background of a scene beat and rob a man.
- Many characters are stabbed and die, but no blood is shown.
- Children are forced to box each other, while adults bet on the winner.
- Characters are punched and beaten with objects.
- Queen Victoria is hit over the head and presumed dead. She is roughly beaten around and stuffed into a chest. She wakes up with no adverse effects from the beatings.
- A bomb explodes in a boat of people, who are then presumed dead.
- Characters are threatened with guns.
Holmes & Watson has frequent sexual references. For example:
- Holmes lewdly simulates riding and slapping a giant zucchini.
- Men and women mime and make references to masturbation. There’s also a lot of innuendo about masturbation.
- Watson remarks that Hudson leaves his bedroom smelling like ‘fish pie and semen’ after she uses it to sleep with men.
- There are references to prostitutes and pornography.
- There are frequent references to being aroused.
- While drunk, Holmes encourages Watson to send a lewd telegram to Dr Hart. It’s implied that Watson exposes his penis (not shown) and sends a picture of it to Dr Hart.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Holmes & Watson shows some use of substances. For example:
- There are references to cocaine, opioid, heroin and cannabis use.
- Characters drink a lot of spirits, wine and beer in a pub.
- Characters smoke cigarettes and pipes.
Nudity and sexual activity
Holmes & Watson has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- It’s suggested that Mrs Hudson has sex with many men. For example, she’s shown coming out of a bedroom in a state of disarray, followed by men.
- Watson and Dr Hart sensually rub cake off the naked body of a deceased man, before they do an autopsy on the body. No genitalia are shown, but Watson and Dr Hart rub the body’s nipples in a sensual way.
- Watson and Dr Hart play strip chess together. No breasts or genitalia are visible.
- Men and women kiss passionately.
Nothing of concern
There is frequent coarse language in Holmes & Watson.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Holmes & Watson is a lazy parody of the Sherlock Holmes detective mysteries. It misses the mark because of its outdated, crude and often tasteless humour.
This movie is inappropriate for children under 13 years, because of its strongly sexual humour, slapstick violence and strong use of substances. Parental guidance might be needed for children under 15 years. The movie is also unlikely to entertain older children or adults.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the following real-life issues:
- Suicide – for example, as Watson tries to jump off a building at the beginning of the movies, Holmes provides him with alternative means of killing himself. This is presented in an amusing way, with Watson’s attempt resulting in no injury to himself.
- Misogynistic attitudes towards women – for example, there are numerous disparaging and objectifying references to women, which are supposed to be funny. These include the use of a ‘ring girl’ (a scantily clad woman who introduces a boxing match), jokes about female doctors, references to female ‘hysteria’ and so on.
- Public urination.