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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.65%
Average: 14.71%
Pretty Bad: 2.94%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 28 user ratings

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by Charles Tatum

"Using the whole fist, Doc?"
5 stars

Twenty four years ago last month, I was a greasy teenager (weighing a hundred and twenty-five pounds less and sporting a full head of hair) sitting in a theater in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I was on a date with my high school girlfriend, and we were watching "Fletch." Things between my girlfriend and I did not work out, but my love affair with this movie continues to this day.

Chevy Chase, in his best role, is Irwin Fletcher, an investigative newspaper reporter who writes under the pseudonym "Jane Doe." He is investigating drug trafficking at a Los Angeles beach when he is approached by a very wealthy Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson). Stanwyk, believing Fletch is a junkie, asks our hero to murder him. Stanwyk is dying of bone cancer, and wants the life insurance to go to his wife, Gail (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson). Fletch, sensing an even bigger story, agrees, and goes about investigating Stanwyk, not liking what he is finding. Everything Stanwyk has told him is a lie, right down to his cancer diagnosis, and Fletch must solve the crime even before it happens, since he has agreed to commit the murder within two days.

Filled with four hours' worth of "Mystery Science Theater 3000"-quality one-liners, "Fletch" came along at a perfect time in Chase's career. Not since the "National Lampoon's Vacation" movies has he been funnier, and he settles into the role like he has been playing it for years. Andrew Bergman adapted Gregory McDonald's novel, and keeps the script moving along at lightning pace. Fletch is no perfect investigator, and is often caught in his elaborately funny lies, but Chase plays him so smoothly, he uses his charm to get out of many a jam. Bergman keeps the audience in the dark along with Fletch, letting all of us discover things for ourselves. Harold Faltermeyer's musical score is very un-"Axel F", thank God, and even the theme song "Bit by Bit" rocks along.

The cast here is also excellent. Dana Wheeler-Nicholson is cute and funny as Gail, and the fact that her career did not take off after this is a crime. Richard Libertini is hilarious in the role of Fletch's editor, as is Geena Davis in a small role as a newspaper assistant. There are a lot more familiar faces here: Joe Don Baker, George Wendt, Kenneth Mars, Tony Longo, James Avery, Alison Laplaca, William Sanderson, and even a cameo by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and everyone is fantastic. No, the plot is not Agatha Christie-worthy, and the coincidences get a little unbelievable, but Ritchie's also-smooth direction of Chase pulls it off.

Of course, Chase seems to suffer from "Even Numbered Sequel Syndrome," and "Fletch Lives" is awful and ended the promising franchise, which still threatens to start up here and there. Don't believe in ENSS? Witness "National Lampoon's European Vacation" and "Caddyshack II" for further evidence in Chase's case.

I don't know what ever happened to my high school sweetheart, I haven't spoken to her in over twenty years, but every time "Fletch" is on cable, I find myself watching and saying the lines along with the characters. Reliving my youth, and laughing my ass off...I wouldn't have it any other way.

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originally posted: 06/16/09 06:25:45
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User Comments

5/25/16 david froman i did pull over before 4 stars
8/24/10 David "StarTrek" Cornelius Great start; but "Fletch lives" is the Marx Brothers reborn and not for blind critics ! 4 stars
9/12/08 David Cohen Eh, it wasn't bad 3 stars
6/16/07 al smith classic chevy chase is brilliant.are you using the whole fist doc 5 stars
8/13/06 William Goss A handful of witty lines, but dated direction and middling mystery don't help matters. 3 stars
3/25/05 indrid cold A forgotten almost-classic. Possibly the only good movie Chase has ever been in. 5 stars
8/07/04 R.W. Welch Has an occasional good line but rather too laid back. 3 stars
7/08/04 Amanda definitly an awesome movie. funny 5 stars
8/31/03 Kitty Kelso Chase, u got another baby!! Cat just loves ya 5 stars
6/09/03 The Chronic oh its funny but I have to take stars for him being an asshole to work with 2 stars
3/26/03 Jack Sommersby Cahse's best film. Good mystery, great laughs, super characters! 5 stars
3/26/03 DMF Pretty good. 3 stars
3/23/03 Daisy Ray Flowers One of the few times Chevy Chase got a role worthy of his talents! 5 stars
10/15/02 Brian The best comedy of Chevy Chase's career, simply awsome! A must for your DVD collection! 5 stars
7/05/02 Charles Tatum Chase's best film, hilarious 5 stars
7/04/02 gary vidmar "Hey Fred, how's the herpes?" Chase's best film, and a must see. 5 stars
5/24/02 Dark Barn While critics hunts down this movie, the Chase fans loved it.... me included. 4 stars
4/20/02 Islammed Yourmom I did pull over... before... 5 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight one of chevy's best 4 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden Chase In A More Serious, More-Slapstick Role. Still Excellent. 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) "Fletch" is a lot like "Beverly Hills Cop," which is a good thing. George McDonald rocks. 4 stars
2/14/01 Lee Hilarious & Witty 5 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog Chevy at his best in this flick. 4 stars
9/18/00 D SILK E 1 the best of chevy 5 stars
8/02/00 The Bomb 69 chevy chase before he became lame!!! 5 stars
6/23/00 Alan Stanwyck God, I admire you. What kind of name is Poon? 5 stars
2/11/00 The King of the Bros Chevy Chase rules! 5 stars
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  02-Jun-1985 (PG-13)
  DVD: 01-May-2007

  N/A (PG)

  12-Sep-1985 (PG)

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