I've often wondered what Michael Caine would have done if he had been given the part of Sherlock Holmes. Without A Clue doesn't answer that question. It does, however, give me an idea what he would look like playing Sherlock Holmes. Instead Without a Clue answers a question I didn't even know I had.
What if Doctor Watson was the real sleuth and Sherlock Holmes was only a bumbling incompetent actor hired by Watson in order to give him a chance to practice his craft? Doctor Watson is well played by Ben Kingsley, serious but totally frustrated by the vain, drunken, womanizing actor Reginald Kincaid [Michael Caine] who is constantly in the spotlight while playing the part of Sherlock Holmes, pushing Watson further and further into the background. Everyone wants to talk to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone laughs at Doctor Watson, who despite his brilliance, is seen by almost everyone except the landlady Mrs. Hudson and his crew of irregulars, as a bumbling fool. Everyone else that is, except Moriarty, who just might be able to destroy Watson and reveal Holmes for the imposter that he is. This is not a great film, but it has two great actors who work well together and it kept me entertained. It takes the seriousness of Sherlock Holmes and twists it just enough to have fun with it without making it seem ludicrous. It's not a heavy handed Airplane -like spoof. It's a slightly over-the-top parody of one of the most beloved detectives in literary and film history. It is a film I've watched at least four times over the years, and I am sure I will watch it again.