Sherlock Holmes/It’s Complicated Double Pack


A couple new reviews today.

Sherlock Holmes

I’m a huge Guy Ritchie fan and think Snatch is the best all-style no-substance movie EVER. So I was excited to see Ritchie working with a larger budget on a studio tentpole.

Not being a Sherlock Holmes expert by any stretch I can only judge the film on its merits standalone.

I felt that the Holmes/Watson old-married couple dynamic played well throughout and was the highlight of the picture. Jude Law was certainly funny as the “man” of the couple, but Downey rightfully steals the show.

Affecting a strange, mildly pompous voice for the character Downey gets laughs out of lines that aren’t even jokes. His quick tongued delivery is fitting for the character as written here.

I found myself missing Ritchie’s usual array of stylistic tics, here relegated to a few slow-mo fights (strategy explained by Downey in funny and informative voiceover) but apart from that this film could have been directed by about 20 other directors-for-hire.

The A plot, the mysterious return from the dead of Mark Strong’s occultist villain, is reasonably intriguing but ultimately it feels as though if Holmes fails to solve this case he won’t lose much. This restrains interest in the proceedings and makes the second act drag.

I enjoyed the occasional hints that Holmes is sort of a functioning lunatic, always needing a new case to solve. That darker edge could have been explored a bit more without losing the comic tone.

Near the end the film sort of peters out its focus on Holmes/Watson, bringing forth the woman in their lives more. This to me felt counter to what the central message of the film seemed to be (Holmes and Watson are meant to be together).

Bottom line, fairly amusing but ultimately mediocre.

It’s Complicated

I saw this movie in a fairly unpopulated theatre and was pleasantly surprised by its steady supply of amusing one-liners and farcical situations. With all the laughter in the theatre you’d think it was playing to a packed house.

By no means does it reinvent the wheel, but it keeps the laughs coming which is a big deal for any comedy. And the target demographic of older women is one vastly underserved by the movies out this time of year. I expect this film to have long legs at the box office and succeed through word of mouth.

Alec Baldwin is invaluable here, his husky delivery making everything he says seem slightly insincere. He is the reason the picture works. Steve Martin, in contrast, struggles to give life to a very underwritten role as Meryl Streep’s lonely mom’s nice-guy architect. He’s remarkably bland here.

John Krasinski scores laughs practically everytime he pops up as the son-in-law who unfortunately happens to witness nearly all Meryl Streep’s character’s misdeeds (affairs and marijuana-smoking, basically).

Listen, the French have been doing this stuff for centuries and I’d bet the average French farce of this sort is probably superior to this film. But for what it is, It’s Complicated delivers well-enough.