I tend to be skeptical when it comes to a studio reboot of a film franchise, but “Confess, Fletch” breathes fresh, new life into the series. Based on the Gregory Mcdonald books, the movie sees Jon Hamm stepping into the role that was made famous in the mid-80s by Chevy Chase. The result is a sharp and clever elevated murder mystery for adults.
Investigative journalist Irwin Fletcher (Jon Hamm) is always getting himself into trouble. This time, he becomes the prime suspect in a murder case while searching for the truth behind a stolen multi-million dollar art collection. In order to prove his innocence to a veteran police detective (Roy Wood Jr.), Fletch must eliminate the long list of suspects. He uses his skills to seek out and question a missing playboy (John Behlmann), a Countess (Marcia Gay Harden), an eccentric germophobe art dealer (Kyle MacLachlan), a wacky bohemian neighbor (Annie Mumolo), and even his own Italian girlfriend (Lorenza Izzo) on his quest to uncover the real culprit.
Director Greg Mottola (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Zev Borrow) nails the tone of the original “Fletch” films without making his project feel like a cheap wannabe rip-off. Gone are the goofy disguises made so popular in the 80s films, and Hamm’s version of Fletch captures the charming arrogance of Mcdonald’s literary character. Fletch’s unorthodox methods are still in play, yet he’s not portrayed as a bumbling idiot.
In peak laid back mode, Hamm reaches near perfection in the lead role as the resourceful and witty reporter. It’s a performance that I want to see more of in the future, and that bodes well for subsequent sequels. Hamm’s charisma serves him well in his flawless delivery of the script’s one-line zingers, and his comedic timing is precise yet natural. Those who have a low tolerance for snarky, smart humor will likely be more annoyed than entertained, however.
I was surprised just how much I enjoyed “Confess, Fletch.” It’s so much better than anyone could have ever expected, the supporting cast is terrific, the mystery is entertaining (if ultimately predictable), and the humor is on point. In other words, it’s a lot of fun.
By: Louisa Moore