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Confess, Fletch

***
2022

‘…long live the new Fletch!…a minor but decidedly fun film noir, as laid back as an episode of The Rockford Files, but with acres of charm from Hamm…’

The Russian film-maker and poet Andrei Tarkovsky was unique in that his output consisted of nothing but masterpieces; every film he made was a stone cold, five star classic. American comedian Chevy Chase came to film-making years later, but his role-call of quality pics is no less impressive; Foul Play, Caddyshack, Spies Like Us, and four Vacation movies. Ordinarily, I’d be violently opposed to the idea of any film-maker attempting to remake or reboot any of Chase’s sainted works, but while Chase’s two outings as Gregory Mcdonald’s chancer of a private detective are an undoubted career highpoint, it’s time to give someone else a chance with those false teeth and quips; long live the new Fletch!

Given the strength of Mcdonald’s novels, the idea of resurrecting Fletch on the big screen has never quite gone away, but star Jon Hamm feels like an ideal fit. Hamm’s ability to switch from straight acting to pastiche and back again in an instant is ideal for the wisecracking hero, and Confess, Fletch is an ideal starter-kit for a franchise. Although the action kicks off in Italy, the setting is largely Boston as reporter Fletch tries to get to the bottom of some stolen art, a kidnapped billionaire, and a murder in which he’s the main suspect. Part of the USP here is how Fletch laughs in the face of danger; in the opening scenes, he casually shrugs off a potential murder charge as if it was an unpaid parking ticket, and that’s right for the laconic CGAF feel of a project like this.

In the hands of Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland, Paul) Confess, Fletch is a minor but decidedly fun film noir, as laid back as an episode of The Rockford Files, but with acres of charm from Hamm and a over-qualified cast of prime-suspects including Annie Mumolo, Kyle McLachlan, Lucy Punch and Marcia Gay Harden. The mystery itself is heardly earth-shattering, but the small-stakes plotting is better than usual, and it’s always a blast seeing how Fletch talks himself into and out of trouble; Hamm’s Mad Men star John Slattery adds to the pot as his spiky editor.

In short, nobody has worked harder than me to preserve the legacy of Chevy Chase, but it’s finally time to move on for a younger generation of charmer, and I’m endorsing Jon Hamm as the candidate who has my vote moving forwards. His Fletch is arguably closer to the original books than Chase’s master of disguise, and with a large gap in the market for smart, witty, low-key detective fare, Confess, Fletch hits the target in terms of laughs per minute. Confess, Fletch didn’t perform well at the box-office in the US, perhaps due to one of these contrarian/hybrid campaigns that meant the film was easily viewable at home on the day it hit cinemas. The Chevy Chase originals will remain in our hearts forever, but this new venture breathes new air into the character of Irwin M. Fletcher, so bring on Fletch’s Fortune! And the last words should belong to Chase himself; ‘And by the way, I charged the entire vacation to Mr. Underhill’s American Express Card. Want the number?’

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  1. Sold! And thanks for the heads up, yet again. I will look out for this when it arrives in Japan in like thirty years or something. I miss movies like the original two Fletch films. I always enjoyed Chevy Chase films, he was probably just playing himself but it worked for me. Time to revisit some of them, I think.

    • I’m planning a season of the Very Best of Chevy Chase, both Fletch films, of course, maybe a little Vacation too. But it’s worth remembering that the wisecracking detective movie goes back to the 30’s, and has long since been a staple. If country house murder mysteries can be a hot ticket in 2022, why shouldn’t cheeky gumshoes? Hamm is different from Chase, but can switch gears more adeptly; it’s a great bit of casting and I hope they make a dozen of these!

        • Your wish is my command! Thanks for your interest, we Chase fans must stick together, there are plenty who do not understand…

  2. I’m not up on Chevy Chases’ sins, though I can guess what they are in the MeToo era.

    I still try to separate the artist from the art whenever possible, mainly out of selfishness, I supposed, but some real bastards made some great things!

    I’ve not seen the original, but it sounds good and I like Jon Hamm. I’ll give this a go when I’m finished binge-watching my old faves for this month’s daily movie series.

    • Actually, I think much of the dislike for Chase comes from personality clashes; I’m not aware of any great sins other than being a cantankerous old codger on the set of Community, which is, in itself, not a crime. He was a great light leading man in his time, and I unironically salute him for that.

      If we are to reject movies because of any individuals personal life then you won’t have many movies left to watch. There’s a new Will Smith movie coming soon, based on the assumption that we’ve forgotten what a misogynist, loud-mouth glory-seeking walloper he recently outed himself as. And we’re still expected to turn out for it.

      I guess Joan Crawford never put a foot wrong, right?

    • What? Jon Hamm in a funny murder mystery is a NOPE?

      Not accepting this. Not a musical, not a horror, not a rom com. Big star performance. Funny dialogue. Good story.

      This is a YUP! Recant! Don’t let your irrational, prejudical mindset against Chevy Chase blind you to the quality of this film! Think again!

  3. Sheesh. CGAF? USP? Can you just start writing in emojis?

    The trailer actually looks like a lot of fun. I think I’ll look for this. Does the Chevster have a cameo?

    • Get down with the kids, grand-pa! Stick your interrobang up your USP! Language is evolving, innit!?

      This is really good, and in response to someone who already complained about my star rating being a three, a Fletch movie should be a three. It’s meant to be laid back and not trying too hard. I bet you’ll enjoy this, old-school entertainment, and not an emoji in sight!

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