23 February 2003 | bob the moo
When papers of supreme importance to the crown are stolen, Sherlock Holmes gets involved in the case. However to divert attention he gives the case to his younger brother, Sigerson Holmes while he and Watson pretend to go away for a holiday. Sigerson takes up the case with the help of Sgt Sacker of Scotland Yard and follows a trail that begins with a mysterious, deceitful music hall singer and leads all the way to his brother's nemesis, Professor Moriarty.
I do enjoy the movies of Gene Wilder, while he has been in some real dogs, I do like his sense of humour and love some of his `classics' with Mel Brooks. So the couple of times I have sat down to watch this I have always assumed that it will be better than it actually is. The plot doesn't really matter but wouldn't stand up if it was put in a serious film, the film seems to be a lot more free flowing and just tries to touch on plot points to try and keep some sort of informal structure to it. While this sort of comedy can survive with a dodgy plot, it cannot survive without good jokes and regular laughs neither of which it has in sufficient quantities.
There are very funny bits and it all has a comic feel but I didn't laugh out loud very often and too often was sitting waiting fore the next joke for too long. The general comic tone helps make it watchable but I suspect most people would be hoping for something a lot funnier considering some of the work of the cast before (and around this time period). In fairness the cast do do a good job. Wilder is his usual self and does the self-important-fool thing sort of like he did in Young Frankenstein (if you know what I mean). Feldman is OK but not hilarious and his `photographic hearing' gag doesn't really work. Kahn is good and her songs are quite amusing (but not compared to her effort in Blazing Saddles) and the support cast have a few good faces and characters (including an eccentric Moriarty).
However, overall this just isn't funny enough to cut the mustard for me. I had hopes for a good spoof but it only occasionally reached the level where it was funny and it couldn't sustain this. It does have moments where it sends up the Holmes legend well (especially the Rathbone/Bruce film versions) but not often enough. It passed the time for me but to be honest I felt let down that the film had failed to do more with the idea.