Fletch (1985)

fletch IMDb

If I remember correctly, one of my high school boyfriends was in a band named after this movie. Oddly enough we never watched it together, but then we only dated for about a month, so we might have gotten around to it eventually had we been together longer. Fletch is a funny movie, but it’s not that funny. Definitely not “named my band after this” good, but maybe it’s just not my thing.

Chevy Chase stars as Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher, an undercover reporter who is pretending to be a beach bum to investigate a drug smuggling ring. He is mistaken for a real addict by a millionaire, who offers Fletch $50,000 to murder him so he can avoid the pain and suffering of cancer. Fletch smells something fishy, and begins looking into the millionaire’s past. What he uncovers disputes the millionaire’s story, and solves the mystery of who is selling drugs on the beach.

The best part of this movie is definitely Chase’s performance, but it also quickly becomes old. Chase is funny, and is given plenty of opportunities to ad lib and goof around. However, he makes every scene feel the same. There are no real ups and downs; the entire film is very even keeled and feels stale and boring about halfway through. There’s no real drama or sense of danger, just constant gags and sarcastic jokes. I can’t help but imagine what this movie would be like with a different actor at the helm. It’s a mystery at its heart, so it would have been interesting to see someone give a performance that really made it feel like more than a second rate comedy.

I guess I just prefer Chevy Chase in other comedies. I can understand why he’d want to make something like Fletch– it’s different from movies like Caddyshack or National Lampoon’s Vacation that made him famous, and feels much more like his work on Saturday Night Live. However, the entire effect falls flat for me. This film has a cult following, so its found an audience. I’m just not a part of it, I guess.

Rating: C

I had never really seen Chevy Chase in anything other than the National Lampoon’s Vacation films and The Three Amigos, so I was interested to see how he would go when the spotlight is firmly on him. Even in the Vacation films it is very much an ensemble cast as his whole family have things to do, but in Fletch Chase is the main drawcard as there are no other big names to take some of the pressure off. Chase rises to the challenge though, Fletch is an amusing look at investigative reporting and conspiracy stories.

Chevy Chase plays investigative reporter Irwin ‘Fletch’ Fletcher. He is a top journalist in Los Angeles working under an anonymous handle who has solved some of LA’s largest crimes, and is currently investigating the drug trade that is rife on some of LA’s beaches. On his travels, a rich businessman named Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson), claims to be dying of cancer and offers Fletch $50,000 to kill him so that his family can get the large insurance payout they would ordinarily not receive if he died of cancer. Fletch is intrigued by the offer and accepts, but before he is willing to go through with it, Fletch does his due diligence and investigates Stanwyk and his business dealing. Fletch uncovers more than he would have liked, eventually leading to an entertaining mystery involving Stanwyk and his earlier investigation into drug deals on the beach.

I found Fletch to be very entertaining. Chevy Chase has enough screen presence to carry a film where he is a large part of every scene. I also thought the story was really solid. I was guessing up until the very end what was really going on in this film, I did have my suspicions, but the movie keeps things hidden really well. Of course, I’m not seeing a Chevy Chase film without expecting a few laughs, and he delivers here. Chase is great as the sarcastic journalist, and plays the role really well. There was a part of me that is hesitant to believe that Chevy Chase is the best journalist in Los Angeles, but he has enough charm to be convincing. Chase has said this was one of his most fun roles to perform, this is likely due to the number of disguises involved for Chase’s character. Fletch is constantly dressing up in fake wigs and teeth to gain entry into places he shouldn’t be. It seemed like he was having a lot of fun playing dress up.

Fletch is a solid comedy with a charismatic leading man and a story that keeps you guessing. I still prefer Chase in his other roles, like Three Amigos or the Vacation films, but he gives a good performance.

Rating: C+

2 thoughts on “Fletch (1985)

  1. Pingback: Fletch Lives (1989) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

  2. Pingback: Kuffs (1992) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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