Beginning in the late 1970s, author Gregory Mcdonald began a series of comedic mysteries whose protagonist is an investigative reporter who goes by the name of Fletch. The first novel inspired the 1985 comedy movie which starred Chevy Chase and was followed by a sequel in 1989 by the movie Fletch Lives. While these movies deservedly earned a following by fans, the casting of Chase actually made the tone of the movie more cartoonish and silly than the source material. Well, obviously much time has passed and a new Fletch adaptation has arrived. This time, the acclaimed and admired actor Jon Hamm (Mad Men) has assumed the mantle of Fletch, but fans of the movies and the fans of the novels are certainly very curious about what version Hamm and director Greg Mottola are bringing to this movie.
In Confess, Fletch, Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher is actually a former investigative reporter, who has been working as a private investigator. At the beginning of the movie, Fletch has had a rather enjoyable vacation in Italy where he meets and stikes up a romantic relationship with Italian heiress Angela (Lorenza Izzo). Things get rather dramatic when Angela’s father, an avid art collector, gets abducted and held for ransom and his art collection disappears. A dead body found in Fletch’s temporary home further complicates matters and frames the investigator for a murder he did not commit.
Based on the novel of the same name by Mcdonald, writer/director Mottola, who adapted the screenplay with Zev Borow, deliver a Fletch reboot that is intended to feel more akin to the novels that inspired the Hollywood movies. This particular film does succeed in delivering laughs and intrigue, but in much more subtle ways. Long gone are the crazy disguises and personas donned by the Fletch character, and in its place is a character who is much more comfortable in his own skin and more confident in his smarts and skills as an investigator. Fletch is still a gifted detective, and has the personality to either charm people or annoy them incessantly. He definitely has the gift of gab, but never goes over-the-top, like Chevy Chase’s take on the character.
Hamm is much more nuianced in the role and this will probably please fans of the original novels. Fans of the Chevy Chase movies will probably think that this watered-down approach lacks fun and goofiness that gave them so much pleasure. As for me, I really enjoy the first Chevy Chase Fletch movie, but feel that the sequel goes a little too far with its silly antics. With this movie, I rather enjoyed Hamm in the role and will acknowledge the solid writing and direction that kept me both entertained and invested in the mystery.
I would love to see this new reboot find its audience, and, therefore, be successful to warrant a sequel movie. I believe, that in the hands of the right writers and directors, another Fletch movie, starring Hamm, could be a lot of fun. I had a great time with this new film.