July 11, 2017
Review #967: Fletch.
Chevy Chase (Irwin M. "Fletch" Fletcher), Joe Don Baker (Chief Jerry Karlin), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Gail Stanwyk), Richard Libertini (Frank Walker), Geena Davis (Larry), Larry "Flash" Jenkins (Gummy), Tim Matheson (Alan Stanwyk), M. Emmet Walsh (Dr. Joseph Dolan), George Wendt (Fat Sam), Kenneth Mars (Stanton Boyd), George Wyner (Marvin Gillet), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Himself) Directed by Michael Ritchie (#616 - The Bad News Bears)
Based off the novel of the same name by Gregory Mcdonald, Fletch is certainly one of those films that seems deserving of a cult following, owing in part to a variety of factors, the first starting with Chase himself. What is it about his performance that works so well? Perhaps it's because he actually seems perfectly as ease with the role that he's playing, where he doesn't look like he's just doing a job, with the ad-libbing being quite effective while not becoming ridiculously tedious. One of my favorite scenes is the scene where he is confronted by Baker's character and he gets pushed into a wall with framed pictures, noting one of them has a picture with Tommy Lasorda, who he notes he hates while punching the photo (I don't blame him, honestly). There are quite a few other good scenes involving wigs and disguises, and they are also pretty quirky along with amusing. Some could find Chase's schtick a bit tiresome, but I found it to go well with a movie that never aspires to be too conventional nor too ridiculous in its approach, with the quick wit feeling just right for the role. It's no wonder that he has said this is his all-time favorite personal role, because there's just something easy and natural about Fletch that works neatly, with that deadpan manner being quite entertaining for me. The rest of the cast is also quite enjoyable, always managing to hit the right chords of amusement and entertainment; Baker and Matheson are fairly decent adversaries, Chase has some decent chemistry with Wheeler-Nicholson, while Libertini and Davis are both fine standouts in the newsroom scenes. This is a fairly crafted thriller, managing to have the right kind of action and mystery that makes for some good quality entertainment that deserves the following it has.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.