I’ve long thought that there was major potential in bringing back the Fletch franchise. For years, Kevin Smith had hoped to do a prequel, which certainly had the chance to be a ton of fun. There was also an attempt to pair Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff again for a new interpretation. However, it was Greg Mottola who got this new film across the finish line, with Jon Hamm taking over the role Chevy Chase essayed so perfectly. Have they captured the magic of the character Gregory McDonald created with Confess, Fletch? The answer may surprise some, considering how low profile this flick is, but it’s a decidedly enthusiastic yes. This is a very fun, and funny, movie.
Confess, Fletch has a ton of laughs. The mystery element of the film may be on the more generic side, but Hamm bringing his take on the character to life? That works almost 100% of the time. The more you’re just enjoying his interpretation, which recalls both the Chase character and McDonald’s literary creation, while being unique as well, the more we’re on firm ground with the picture.
This time around, Irwin M. ‘Fletch’ Fletcher (Hamm) is attempting to solve a murder, prove his own innocence in said case, and to recover some stolen artwork, all at once. How did Fletch get involved in all of this? Well, during a stay in Italy, he began a relationship with Angela (Lorenza Izzo), whose father owns a ton of expensive art. When he returns to America to start looking in to where several of the paintings have vanished to, the home he’s staying in already has a dead body waiting in it. Calling the police, Detectives Monroe (Roy Wood Jr.) and Griz (Ayden Mayeri) interrogate him, consistently annoyed by his devil may care attitude. So, he’ll have to navigate their investigation, while conducting his own.
Interacting with his former editor from his newspaper days Frank (John Slattery), Fletch starts pulling art various threads. As he’s doing that, meeting all sorts of odd characters, including the wealthy Horan (Kyle MacLachlan) and the stoner Eve (Annie Mumolo), Angela’s mother, The Countess (Marcia Gay Harden) arrives, complicating things even more than they already are. It’s all very silly and played as such, so you’re mostly watching for how Fletch floats through it all.
Jon Hamm is an absolute riot as Fletch. He’s having the time of his life, and it shows. Whether it’s how he says “five stars” when he leaves an Uber or his quick wit in all situations, Hamm knows the character through and through. It’s a joy to watch him in action. Everyone else mentioned above, while enjoying themselves, can’t hold a candle to the star. Supporting players here, all in the shadow of Hamm as well, include John Behlmann, Kenneth Kimmins, Eugene Mirman, Anna Osceola, and more.
Director/co-writer Greg Mottola (penning the script with Zev Borow) leans in to the smart-ass tendencies of the character. Mottola focuses less on the visuals of the film, which are fine yet unspectacular, instead opting to make the screenplay he wrote with Borow as witty as possible. In turn, it allows Hamm to shine even brighter.
Confess, Fletch is just a good time, through and through. It’s not particularly ambitious, but it’s real funny. As the prestige fare starts to litter the landscape, something this purely enjoyable does really stand out. Simply put, Confess, Fletch is a damn good time and a welcome return for the character, hilariously played by Jon Hamm. What more do you need?