Review: ‘Confess, Fletch’ is a low-key murder mystery both funny and engrossing

confess, fletch
via Paramount

For many, the word “Fletch” will bring back memories of an in-his-prime Chevy Chase as Irwin M. Fletcher, an undercover reporter for the Los Angeles Times who, over the course of two movies Fletch (released in 1985) and Fletch Lives (released in 1989), investigates his stories with dogged determination and often hilarious results.

The Fletch movies are based on the novels by Gregory McDonald, and numerous attempts over the last 30+ years have been made to bring the series back to the screen, with names such as Ben Affleck, Zach Braff, and Jason Sudeikis were attached to the project over the years. Confess, Fletch proves that time has indeed been kind to the Fletch saga, with Superbad director Greg Mottola and star Jon Hamm the perfect combination for the relaunching of a long-defunct property that, hopefully, will get more sequels.

Hamm, of course, plays Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher, a freelance journalist who was once “an investigative journalist of some repute”. Hired by wealthy Italian businessman, Count Clementi Arbogastes De Grassi (Robert Picardo), to locate several stolen paintings worth millions that were last located in Boston, Fletch finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery in which he is the main suspect. He must find the paintings and clear his name, all the while dealing with De Grassi’s daughter Angela (Lorenzo Izzo) and wife The Countess (Marcia Gay Harden).

With its brisk pace and witty screenplay, Confess, Fletch not only succeeds as an entertaining whodunnit, but also gives Hamm the perfect role to flex his comedic muscles and natural charm. Armed with a wide array of witty comebacks and putdowns while bravely walking the streets of Boston wearing a Los Angeles Lakers hat, Hamm’s Fletch is the embodiment of a troublemaker, yet a lovable one at that.

Although the title hero is very much a goofball, there is an intelligence to the character that is refreshing, a low-key psychological approach that he uses to get under the skin of his own varied list of suspects. Meanwhile, Fletch continues to stay one step ahead of a pair of bumbling cops (Roy Wood Jr. and Ayden Mayeri) in scenes that are somewhat reminiscent of another classic fish-out-of-water crime comedy: Beverly Hills Cop.

Mottola (who co-wrote the screenplay with Zev Borow) delivers a crime comedy romp in Confess, Fletch that is easygoing yet never lazy. While the stakes don’t feel high, Hamm’s charismatic turn and the consistent stream of high-quality scene partners makes the end product an engaging chuckle-fest of a movie.

Confess, Fletch

'Confess, Fletch' gives Jon Hamm the chance to flex his goofy comedic chops in a low-key murder mystery both funny and engrossing.