I have read many times about the 1988 film, Without a Clue, starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley as Holmes and Watson, but I'd never seen it...until today. I recently discovered that the film was available to watch on YouTube, so I gave it a try. I'm glad I did, as it was really quite delightful! The premise of this Holmes parody seems as if it would be too silly: Watson (Ben Kingsley), a rather brilliant detective in his own right, has created the character of Sherlock Holmes as a cover for his crime solving work, and hired bumbling actor Reginald Kincaid (Michael Caine) to portray his creation. When the fake detective gets too cocky for his own good, Watson attempts to fire him, with hilarious results. They end up facing off against the infamous Moriarty, of course...
As I said, it seems silly, but the fact is, it all ends up working rather well as a comedy that parodies the source material, while presenting a fun, engaging story, with capable actors who pull it off with great humor. It doesn't rely nearly as much on slapstick comedy as an earlier Gene Wilder Holmes parody, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975), which I saw a few years ago and which disappointed me greatly. Without a Clue captured my attention, made me laugh, and impressed me with its fairly clever references to Sherlockian canon. Kingsley and Caine end up being a good team, despite their initial (and hilarious) animosity towards each other. Jeffrey Jones (the principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off) is enjoyable as the conceited Lestrade, and the rest of the cast is quite good as well (including the late Peter Cook, in an appearance as Watson's publisher at the Strand Magazine). Really well worth my time! Recommended for all Holmes fans who like a good laugh.
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN, and a longtime fan of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.