It's an easy mistake to make on paper, but Holmes & Watson director Etan Cohen isn't THAT Ethan Coen. There's a famous story about the reason Bill Murray signed on to voice the main character in Garfield. Murray is known for being somewhat selective - and occasionally impulsive - when it comes to choosing projects, so when he saw Joel Cohen's name on Garfield's script, he decided to sign on. In this case, the star mistook Joel Cohen - writer of Evan Almighty - with Joel Coen, one half of the acclaimed Coen Brothers (Raising Arizona, No Country For Old Men).
Some movie fans made a similar double take with writer/director Etan Cohen, who can sometimes be mistaken for the other Coen brother Ethan Coen. Etan Cohen is a frequent collaborator of Will Ferrell and started his career writing for shows like Beavis And Butt-Head, King Of The Hill, and cult animated comedy Recess. He continued his working relationship with Beavis And Butt-Head creator Mike Judge on Idiocracy, where a man is frozen for centuries to awaken in a world so dumbed down he becomes a genius by default. The movie is considered a cult gem now but was essentially dumped by its studio prior to release.
Etan Cohen has been working steadily ever since, working on the screenplays for Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and he was one of the writers on Men In Black 3. He also wrote an unused draft of Ghostbusters 3 when the studio was trying to tempt Bill Murray to return. Cohen has since shifted gears to directing, making his debut with 2015's Get Hard. This comedy starred Will Ferrall as a hedge fund manager facing prison who has to learn to toughen up, so he hires Kevin Hart to show him how to survive on the inside. Despite a great cast, which included Alison Brie and Craig T. Nelson, the movie was greeted with mostly bad reviews with critics finding the comedy too mean-spirited.
Get Hard was a modest hit, however, leading Etan Cohen to reteam Will Ferrell with his Step Brothers co-star John C. Reilly for Holmes & Watson. Despite the comic potential of a Sherlock Holmes spoof, the movie was greeted with universally poor reviews and the movie bombed. It's hardly fair to compare any filmmaker to Ethan Coen, let alone his namesake Etan, considering the level of acclaim he and his brother Joel have attended.
For over thirty years they've built a filmography of unique, beautifully performed comedies, thrillers, and dramas. From their low-budget debut Blood Simple to Miller's Crossing, Fargo, Inside Llewyn Davis, and much more, Joel and Ethan Coen are in a class of their own. Outside of maybe Intolerable Cruelty and their remake of The Ladykillers with Tom Hanks, their body of work is littered with instant classics.
It's unknown when the next Coen Brothers movie will arrive, while Etan Cohen's next project is an animated adaptation of 2013 novel Monster On The Hill. Cohen co-wrote the script for the movie, where a teenager aims to become a monster hunter like her father.