Pros:Funny, entertaining movie.
Cons:The movie could be too silly for some viewers.
The Bottom Line: Fletch is an entertaining movie that fans of Chevy Chase should enjoy. People in the mood for a funny movie should give it a chance.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Several years ago I first saw the movie Fletch on television. I really enjoyed it and would watch it whenever I found it on. I picked up the DVD once I found it. I still really enjoy the movie.
Irwin M. Fletcher was a reporter that used many disguises to help him get his stories. His column was written under the by line of Jane Doe. Fletch had been working on a story about the drug trade on a local beach when Alan Stanwyk approached him with a strange offer. Alan said he was dying of bone cancer and wanted Fletch to murder him before he got really sick. Alan said he couldn’t kill himself because then his wife wouldn’t get the life insurance. Fletch agreed to the plan while thinking that Alan was up to something. Fletch started investigating Alan while still working on the drug story. He met Gail, Alan’s wife, and developed a relationship with her. Fletch uncovered some things about the drug trade that put his life in danger.
Fletch contained a combination of comedy and mystery. I think it worked well for this movie. Fletch used several disguises throughout the movie. A few were elaborate, including a fake beard or wigs, while others were more simple consisting of him putting on surgical scrubs or a waiter’s uniform. Most of the disguises made me laugh. At one point he had a dream where he was a player for the Lakers that really made me laugh. All of the humor was added through things that Fletch did or said. Fletch provided narration through a voice over about certain events. Those also included things that made me laugh. He had a habit of making up names when he met new people and some of the names he came up with were very funny. When he was at the country club to investigate Alan, Fletch managed to convince employees he was a guest there of Mr. Underhill and he charged things to his account more than once. The one time he charged a huge lunch bill to Mr. Underhill. The last few lines in the movie, in a voice over, had Fletch mentioning that he used Mr. Underhill’s credit card for something else. Just the ways he said things like that made me laugh. There wasn’t anything that I thought was over the top like seems to be used in most new comedy movies now. There wasn’t any gross out humor used either. I thought that this was a very funny movie and I really enjoy it every time I watch it. There were some things that were done that might be too silly for some viewers. I really didn’t think the movie was that silly overall.
In addition to being funny, Fletch also contained a fairly strong mystery for a comedy. It was stronger than I had expected it to be. Maybe that is because the movie was based on a book by Gregory McDonald. I haven’t read the book, so I have no idea how much the plot had been changed for the movie. The plot was more complex than the plots of many comedies are without it getting so confusing that it was hard to follow what was going on. The movie was only about an hour and a half long, so it wasn’t long enough to be really complex. Fletch was working on his story about the drug trade when he got involved in the situation with Alan. Fletch did have to juggle both investigations throughout most of the movie. There was a little bit of suspense which helped to keep things interesting. The movie did have some serious moments and a small amount of violence. The movie was rated PG, so the violence wasn’t that extreme. There was only a small amount of swearing. The word that rhymes with luck wasn’t used.
Fletch was the main character and most developed in the movie. He used a different name for his column, so it seemed like he wanted to keep his privacy. That probably also made it easier for him to investigate his stories since most people didn’t know what he really looked like. He loved basketball and was a huge fan of the Lakers. He acted goofy sometimes which caused some people to underestimate him. He had to deal with his ex-wife trying to get more alimony out of him. Once he started investigating something, he stuck with it. Chevy Chase was very good as Fletch. He fit the part perfectly. He was funny without going overboard like has happened in some other comedy movies. Fletch was able to stay calm in stressful situations, something Chase’s character in the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies didn’t or couldn’t do. Fletch was calmer and just more rational than Clark.
Alan approached Fletch very early in the movie. He and Fletch spent a short amount of time together while Alan made the proposition. After that, Alan was missing for the majority of the movie. Alan was a mystery, though more things were shared as Fletch learned more during his investigations. Tim Matheson was fine in the small part. Gail was introduced a little later in the movie. She was a nice woman that didn’t know as much about her husband as she’d thought. She wasn’t developed very much. Dana Wheeler-Nicholson was fine in the part, though nothing outstanding. Frank Walker was Fletch’s boss at the newspaper. Frank got annoyed with Fletch more than once and didn’t always believe him. Richard Libertini didn’t have that much to do in the part. Geena Davis had a very small part as Larry, a woman that worked with Fletch at the newspaper. George Wendt, probably best known as Norm on Cheers, also had a small part. Joe Don Baker was in a few short scenes as a Chief of police. He had another very small part in The Dukes of Hazzard.
Joe Don Baker - Chief Jerry Karlin
Chevy Chase - Irwin M. Fletcher/Fletch
Geena Davis - Larry
Richard Libertini - Frank Walker
Tim Matheson - Alan Stanwyk
M. Emmet Walsh - Dr. Joseph Dolan
George Wendt - Fat Sam
Dana Wheeler-Nicholson - Gail Stanwyk
Michael Ritchie - Director
The copy of Fletch that I have on DVD is in the widescreen version. The case says it is anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. I’m not sure if there is a full screen version. There really aren’t any special features on the DVD. The production notes, film highlights, theatrical trailer, and bios of the cast and film makers were the only special features.
Fletch is a very funny movie that I really enjoy. It had some silly moments, but I think it is entertaining and worth watching, especially for Chevy Chase fans.
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