Former investigative journalist Irwin ‘Fletch’ Fletcher (Jon Hamm) is sent to Boston by his Italian girlfriend Angela (Lorenza Izzo) to track down stolen paintings that belonged to her father, who has been kidnapped by the mob. Upon arriving at his rental house in Boston, Fletch discovers the body of a young woman and promptly calls the police, accidentally making him the prime suspect in her murder. Using his detective skills, Fletch tries to evade the police while he investigates the murder and tries to find Angela’s father’s paintings.
To say that ‘Confess, Fletch’ has been a labour of love for its star and producer Jon Hamm would be an understatement. Based on the books by Gregory McDonald, Fletch first came to the big screen with Chevy Chase playing the title character for two movies – ‘Fletch’ in 1985 and ‘Fletch Lives’ in 1989. Following those films, the franchise kept going into development hell and it looked unlikely we’d see any further Fletch adventures. Hamm teamed up with director Greg Mottola, with both contributing from their own salaries for the film to get additional shoot days to complete it, and they’ve finally managed to bring it back to the big screen. Was it worth the wait and effort?
Actually, yes it was. ‘Confess, Fletch’ is very much a nod back to the kind of comedies that used to dominate cinemas in the 80s and it’s refreshing during a time when the choices we’re given for films are reboots, sequels or superhero blockbusters. ‘Confess, Fletch’ takes a pretty simple premise and delivers a good old-fashioned detective movie that has plenty of charm and is surprisingly entertaining. The plot may not be anything particularly new – the central murder leads to a classic whodunnit as Fletch encounters a series of quirky characters – but that’s a big part of its charm.
Over the course of the film, Fletch turns his suspicions onto the variety of characters he meets as he’s trailed by put-upon Sergeant Inspector Monroe (Roy Wood Jr.) and Junior Detective Griz (Ayden Mayeri). The more they try to warn him off the case, the more Fletch gets involved and he’s determined to help them solve it, whether they want his help or not. Fletch casts his investigative eye on suspects including his girlfriend Angela, wacky neighbour Eve (Annie Mumolo), art dealer Ronald Horan (Kyle MacLachlan), The Countess (Marcia Gay Harden) and even the man whose home he’s renting!
The success of ‘Confess, Fletch’ has to be credited to Hamm’s performance. Since his career-defining turn in ‘Mad Men’, Hamm has leaned more in to comedy and he’s gifted at it. As Fletch he’s goofy, charismatic and at times downright hilarious. He plays the role different to Chevy Chase, making the character his own. His deadpan delivery is spot on and he plays off the other actors, particularly Marcia Gay Harden who hams it up as The Countess, really well. ‘Mad Men’ fans will rejoice at seeing John Slattery playing a small role as Fletch’s former editor.
‘Confess, Fletch’ isn’t ground-breaking and it doesn’t reinvent the wheel but that’s what makes it so much fun. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, the cast clearly had a ball making it and the story is engaging. Hamm is perfectly cast as Fletch and I actually can’t believe how little buzz there’s been about the movie. Word-of-mouth seems to be doing its job in other parts of the world and I’m hopeful this won’t be the only time we see Hamm as Fletch.
Cast: Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Marcia Gay Harden, Kyle MacLachlan, Lorenza Izzo, Ayden Mayeri, Roy Wood Jr. Director: Greg Mottola Writers: Greg Mottola & Zev Borow (screenplay), Gregory McDonald (novel) Certificate: 15 Duration: 98 mins Release date: 18th November 2022