December 23, 2011


In Fletch (1985), Chevy Chase gives his best comic performance. His brand of humor was never put to better use than as the wise-cracking investigative reporter Irwin M. Fletcher. Set in L.A., the movie is based on Gregory McDonald's 1974 mystery novel of the same name. While I haven't read the book, just skimming a summary of its plot makes me wonder if screenwriter Andrew Bergman oversimplified the story, weakening it in the process. The two separate mysteries are woven together with clumsy indiscretion. What could have been a fine, richly layered and exciting comic-mystery is rendered something less: it's a superficial and transparent middle-finger-valentine. Fletch is nevertheless an entertaining lightweight comedy. You find yourself enjoying it with ease, and the flaws are somehow mitigated by Chase's mugging and the movie's laid-back tone. Harold Faltermeyer's music score adds a wonderful campiness to the production. The cast is quite a good one, but their characters are never fleshed out. Everyone takes a back seat to Fletch. Followed by Fletch Lives in 1989. Directed by Michael Ritchie. With Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Richard Libertini, Joe Don Baker, Tim Matheson, and Geena Davis.

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