If you remember this film with a nostalgic air, recalling a comedy masterpiece of your youth, don't read the rest of this review. It will only upset you.

Without A Clue is a comedy of mistaken identities, in which Dr Watson (Ben Kingsley) employs Reginald Kincaid (Michael Caine) to play Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective he writes about in the popular Strand Magazine.

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Unfortunately, Reggie is a destitute, womanising alcoholic, who completely fails to take any interest in detection, or listen to Watson's pleading about keeping in character. The good doctor is so angry with Kincaid's poor performance, he decides to retire Holmes after "one last case," which, somewhat inevitably, allows them to realise that they have become friends and need each other.

Kingsley and Caine play their parts with gusto, injecting a sufficient level of humour to keep you interested, but unfortunately nothing can save the film from blandness, or disguise a tiresome, silly plot.

The London sets suffer from a TV movie feel, which appears theatrical and constricted. Things improve when they go on location to the Lake District, but it still reeks of cheap costume drama - the TV aeriels are a bit of a giveaway.

It's a shame to have to say it, but this is one of those films that has aged rather badly, leaving you wondering why on earth they choose such films to release on DVD, when there is a plethora of other/better ones still stuck on tape.

Reviewed on: 02 Aug 2002
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Without A Clue packshot
A mistaken identity comedy, where Sherlock Holmes is a drunk actor, guided by the real sleuth, Dr Watson.
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Director: Thom Eberhardt

Writer: Gary Murphy, Larry Strawther

Starring: Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Jeffrey Jones, Lysette Anthony, Paul Freeman, Nigel Davenport, Pat Keen, Peter Cook

Year: 1988

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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