The last time these two actors worked together in a movie, I fell off my dinosaur. It’s been that long. Well, it’s been a decade anyway – but both Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are back, as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively, in Etan Cohen’s new spoof-comedy of everyone’s favourite detective.
Even though it does look good (the trailer is making us laugh each and every time), it has some way to go to be considered on equal terms with Adam McKay’s classic comedy Step Brothers, a film that, much like its two protagonists, is getting better with age. The story is simple: Brennan Huff (Ferrell) and Dale Doback (Reilly) are two men in their 40s, who are forced to live together in the same home when their single parents, played by Mary Steenburger and Richard Jenkins, get married.
Naturally, it’s within the humour that makes the film so immensely pleasurable – so watchable on several occasions (I’m genuinely up to around 18 now) and with that it, it’s verging on annoying in just how quotable it is in everyday life. If ever you walk into an area that has a lot of room to manoeuvre, the first thought that comes to mind is how much space there is for activities. Every-time there’s an awkward silence you wanna ask if the person you’re with likes guacamole. If you ever make a new friend it’s difficult not to ask them ‘did we just become best friends?’ which of course could freak them out, or better, they get the reference and in turn confirm that yes, you have just become best friends. If they go on to annoy you, well there’s also the temptation to threaten them with a pillow case full up of bars of soap and subsequently beat the crap out of them.
And yet, like with any truly great comedy, it’s the humanity that allows this to triumph, for there’s a profundity to this tale, something ineffably sad about these two quite tragic individuals, which often lays the foundations for the finest comic creations to thrive off. Marion Cotillard once said that she always cries at the end of Step Brothers (note the phrase ‘always’ by the way – suggests she’s an addict too). But it is sad, and they are pathetic, and when they have to lick white dog crap it’s sad. When Brennan’s younger brother Derek bullies them, it’s sad. Even the latter’s beleaguered wife, played by Kathryn Hahn, is an incredibly sad addition. And such empathy can be appreciated for these two men are so likeable, and scarily rather relatable too. But in a way that isn’t troubling as such, but a reminder of the more playful, childlike qualities within all of us, the qualities we’ve beaten out of us in turn for mundanity, and responsibility, things these two man-babies rejected. Sort of admirable, in a weird way.
Much like the dialogue in the latter stages, when Robert Doback tells his son(s), not to ‘lose their dinosaur’. Bizarre as it may sound, it’s true. We shouldn’t lose our dinosaur. I mean it’s not 100% clear what he’s trying to get across, but we sort of get the gist. So don’t lose your dinosaur, and keep on indulging in this simply fantastic piece of modern comedy, which we believe to be the finest this side of the millennium. Let’s hope Holmes & Watson is the reunion we’ve been eagerly anticipating. At worst, it will still be fun watching Reilly play a doctor. Heh, maybe it is all about who you know.