A defiantly retro item from a onetime Oscar winner (for 1982’s “Begin the Beguine”), helmer Jose Luis Garci’s “Holmes & Watson: Madrid Days” has little going for it except curiosity value. Sending the sleuth to Spain to investigate the crimes of a Jack the Ripper copycat, the pic features interesting ideas, and reps a decent homage to classical Hollywood cinema, but dramatically, it’s cardboard. Appeal will be limited to Garci die-hards, of whom more than a few remain.
Pic is a giddy blend of mystery, melodrama, social critique and tourist-board ad. Holmes (Gary Piquer) is in an insecure relationship with opera singer Irene Adler (Belen Lopez), while Watson (Jose Luis Garcia Perez) is a shameless womanizer. In Madrid, they embark on a manhunt that takes them, self-importantly declaiming and chortling as they go, via several political intrigues to a limp conclusion. “Madrid Days” is most interesting for the parallels it draws between then and now, and for a couple of lively perfs, especially from Enrique Villen as an earthy detective. Inevitable language issues involving these Spanish-speaking Englishmen are inelegantly handled, but decor and detail from Gil Parrondo are impeccable.