Now the price has come down a bit a worthwhile purchase. Probably as good as this film will ever look and sound; the picture is pretty good for a 32 year old film and the music score has some good weight and presence.
In terms of plot and feel, Fletch strikes me as a moderately extended teleplay that could have been a pilot for a TV series as a comedy vehicle for Chevy Chase, with the tone of The Rockford Files. It's main failings are a severe lack of narrative drive, and dialogue that is too often a lame excuse for comedy. The more than reasonable plot saves the day. I'll be interested to read the book from which this movie was adapted, since the book -- Fletch -- is claimed to be darker, and won an Edgar Allan Poe Award, for Best First Novel, from the Mystery Writers of America.
This film is very nice. On rainy days, I shut myself up and watch it by myself. The plot is tortuous. A story with happy ending. The actors performed very well. I really like the props in this movie. It's quite realistic.
I saw Fletch Lives first, when I was just 9, and it really appealed to my sense of humor at the time (and my sense of humor now too, I guess). It was easily accessible for a kid, but I was originally disappointed when I first saw Fletch because it was more serious and a lot of jokes just went over my head.
As a result Fletch appeals to the adult in me while Fletch Lives appeals to the kid barely concealed inside. There's loads of great one-liners from our man Chase and even if that doesn't float your boat Harold Faltermeyer's score is just plain awesome. It's unfortunate that "Irwin F" never became as famous or iconic as "Axel F".
I've read the book, and it's as different as it is similar to the plot of the movie, except for one major difference; Fletch's cases are not connected in the book but they are in the movie. Gregory MacDonald had the final say on who they cast as Fletch and rejected Burt Reynolds (no way) and Mick Jagger (say what???) before approving Chase. Along with Clark W. Griswold he's his most famous character (Ty Webb coming in at 3rd place).
It's not aged so well though, the film is clearly very 80s, unlike the sequel which doesn't use any pop songs, But even if the pop tunes anchor this in 1985 it's still one of the best comedies of that decade and no one can call themselves a film buff without owning/watching.
The Blu Ray features a 1080p 1.85:1 picture but since much of the film has a rather drab color pallet only a few nicely-shot scenes look good. The DTS-HD MA sound really brings Faltermeyer's score to life though. Extras do not feature Chase and are in standard definition.
After watching Fletch you'll never diss Chevy Chase again. Forget all past and present performances by this one time 'Saturday Night Live' stand up comedian, Fletch is the comedy of all comedies. From the classic Mr Poon to the unforgettable roller skating rabbi, you'll be splitting your sides from start to finish. He takes newspaper reporting to a whole new level. Ever seen a comedy this good? "No, never, never". Well "not since breakfast". Oh, and when you buy this film, charge it to Mr. Underhill!
A comedy mystery, adapted from Gregory McDonald's novel, but very much a vehicle for Saturday Night Live comedian Chevy Chase. Ace undercover investigative reporter Irwin M. Fletcher adopts numerous disguises and personæ to get to the bottom of two different cases which actually turn out to be part of the same scam, involving fraud, bigamy, narcotics and police corruption. Along with the disguises comes a variety of deadpan noms de jours that poke fun at, presumably, certain types of Californians in general - eg. "Nugent. Ted Nugent", "Igor Strawinsky" and "Don Corleone." The film's slow pace and Chase's comic manner may be an irritant to some, but the film has moments when it simply tickles the funny-bone. Such as the aero-engineers discussing the by-pass valve, the roller-skating rabbi on the beach, and the near-cringeing evading the cops during a Veterans' meet (Fred 'the Dorf' Dorffler). A nice Hollywood in-joke is squeaky-clean 'Jim-Bob Walton' (yes, 't is he!) as the teenage car-thief with dental braces. Fletch's penchant for the Los Angeles Lakers is rewarded with a nice cameo from then-larger-than-life popular basketball-player Kareem Abdul-Jabar. Director Michael Ritchie's lightness of touch, along with understated support from Richard Libertini, Tim Matheson, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Joe Don Baker and an early-in-their-careers Geena Davis and George Wendt, allow Chase's style of comedy to never become either too overbearing or too quirky (although Ted Underhill's credit card must have helped ...). However, four years later, both Ritchie and Chase conspired to lose that quite successful touch with the irredeemably dire Fletch Lives. During the mid-1980s Austrian muso Harald Faltermeyer needed two attempts to Get It Right: his Fletch Theme was the 'dry run' for, following a little tweaking, the more popular Axel F. of Beverley Hills Cop fame. ... Would still like to know how that small story on off-track betting in the Himalayas went ...
Dr. Joseph Dolan: You know, it's a shame about Ed. Fletch: Oh, it was. Yeah, it was really a shame. To go so suddenly like that. Dr. Joseph Dolan: He was dying for years. Fletch: Sure, but... the end was very... very sudden. Dr. Joseph Dolan: He was in intensive care for eight weeks. Fletch: Yeah, but I mean the very end, when he actually died. That was extremely sudden.
And so Chevy Chase, reporter managers to bungle his way through many different undercover guises in the way to getting his story... and you will enjoy the ride, because it is funny, and dry and off the wall.
Incidentally I don't know why Chevy Chase seemed to get less funny as he got older. Same thing that happened to Steve Martin.