Sunday, 2 October 2011

Fletch (1985)

Chevy Chase. In the 80s he was a comedy actor towering over all others. With his great turns in Caddyshack, the "Vacation" movies and, of course, Fletch. Despite the greatness of the other titles just mentioned, Fletch remains his best, and most suitable, leading role.

Chase plays Irwin "Fletch" Fletcher, a wise-cracking investigative journalist who is trying to uncover a big story about drugs being sold on a local beach. This puts him in contact with Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson), a man who asks Fletch to kill him and says that he will be rewarded handsomely for it. Obviously intrigued by this offer, Fletch starts to dig around and soon find that he's on to something big. Something that involves a lot of money, a lot of drugs, some dodgy policemen and a lot more that could prove to be too much for him to handle. Luckily, he has a number of disguises to help him in his endeavour.

With the brisk pace, constant wise-cracks and Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you'd accidentally switched on some Beverly Hills Cop remake. It certainly has many similiarities but then develops into something different enough, and equally worthwhile, to make it worth watching on its own merits.

Chase is made for the role, all cheek and no shame. The supporting cast includes a number of great names. Geena Davis gets a small role, Joe Don Baker proves a menacing presence, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson is very appealing and there are small roles for the likes of M. Emmet Walsh and George Wendt.

The screenplay by Andrew Bergman (based on a novel by Gregory McDonald) is sharp, surprisingly tight and constantly amusing and it's well served by Michael Ritchie's competent direction. The movie may not be a classic, though you'll get some argument from people who saw the thing in the 80s, but it holds up better than many others from the era and provides solid entertainment for it's 98 minute runtime.


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