Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
They're plenty colorful characters for your child to gawk at in "Sherlock Gnomes" a sequel to the semi-decent hit "Gnomeo and Juliet" - and this time the gang is taking on a new literary property. Borrowing on the "Toy Story" element where a garden of gnomes come alive when the owners are away. Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) are in line to become the first successors to their parents as head of the garden, which means a new a plate of responsibilities. That's all upheaved when the entire ceramic clan disappears without notice, forcing the sleuth Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp doing his best snobby English accent) and trusty sidekick Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor in the films sole inspired casting choice) on the case. Creative hijinks ensues, and a battle of wits begins to transpire not only with Sherlock Gnomes arch nemesis Moriarty, but with Watson as well, who struggles to be noticed.
Some of Arthur Conan Doyle's characteristics are well in tact, but I'm not sure how much of the material the kiddies will be interested with. Some of the references, and ploys might produce a chuckle with the adults, but the tykes are left on the sidelines. There's a side plot that goes on with Gnomeo and Juliet dealing with their marriage woes that young children also might not understand, and I can't forget the slew of Elton John references sure to fly high above their heads. As you can see, there's a top notch vocal cast working overtime to make this work, but the creativity runs very thin by the hour mark. The best joke this film has for young kids is a gnome in a revealing bathing suit, and another that just sits on a toilet (giving new definition to the term, "potty humor.")
While the message of friendship and trust is a resounding one, I feel like the filmmakers could've conveyed that in more probable ways. But I will grant the film one laugh, and that's the brief interlude where we get inside Sherlock's head. The images are presented in traditional 2D hand drawn black and white, its easy on the eyes and a testament to the potential this film needed to reach.
Kids might be more forgiving. Adults, not so much.
Rated: PG for some rude and suggestive humor
Runtime: 1 hr and 25 minutes