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'Holmes & Watson' Shows What It Takes To Earn A Rotten Tomatoes Score Of Zero

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly buddy film "Holmes & Watson" came out on Christmas Day.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOLMES & WATSON")

JOHN C REILLY: (As Watson) What have you done with Sherlock?

WILL FERRELL: (As Holmes) Why, Watson, I never left.

REILLY: (As Watson) Amazing.

SHAPIRO: The film got really bad reviews - so consistently bad, in fact, it had a 0 percent rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Zero percent. Now, Rotten Tomatoes determines movie ratings based on reviews. And here is a sample review of "Holmes & Watson" from Newsday's Rafer Guzman.

"Holmes & Watson" is one of those movies that goes beyond unfunny and into a comedy-cubist zone, where jokes are no longer recognizable and laughter is philosophically impossible.

SHAPIRO: This is actually an accomplishment. It's really hard to get a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. With this feat, "Holmes & Watson" has joined movies like "Gotti," starring John Travolta.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GOTTI")

COURTNEY ABBIATI: (As reporter) Mr. Gotti, are you the head of the Gambino crime family?

JOHN TRAVOLTA: (As John Gotti) I'm the head of my family.

SHAPIRO: And "London Fields," with Billy Bob Thornton as a struggling writer chasing a mysterious femme fatale.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LONDON FIELDS")

BILLY BOB THORNTON: (As Samson Young) Nicola slept with God and the Devil. She told them both to get lost.

KELLY: Now, "Holmes & Watson" meanwhile has managed to crawl out of its 0 percent tomato-splat abyss thanks to a couple of, well, less bad reviews.

DAVID EDELSTEIN: No brain cells are harmed by "Holmes & Watson," just given a few hours to rest and regenerate.

SHAPIRO: That's from New York Magazine film critic David Edelstein. He says he did not give the film a glowing review.

EDELSTEIN: You're talking to me as a person who said nice things about "Holmes & Watson." But the defense admits that 75, maybe 80 percent of the movie is so bad it's painful.

KELLY: Now, Edelstein doesn't mind that Rotten Tomatoes considers his review an endorsement of "Holmes & Watson." He says take all reviews, even his, with a large grain of salt.

EDELSTEIN: It's a bad, bad movie. But bad, bad movies can have good, good things. And anyone who thinks he or she knows what's there by looking at a Rotten Tomatoes score or a bad review or my review should go out and see the stupid thing for him or herself.

SHAPIRO: Thanks, at least in part, to Edelstein, "Holmes & Watson" no longer has a 0 percent rating. When last we checked, it had a 6 percent on the Tomatometer.

(SOUNDBITE OF ORNETTE COLEMAN'S "FOCUS ON SANITY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.