Adapting Fletch for a modern audience is a unique challenge. The wacky arrogance the character personifies is called out within Confess, Fletch as white male privilege, but it is intentionally employed to make Fletch the subject of the joke. Fletch films start with the character as high status, top of the world wise-cracking jerk, then bring him down to befuddled dope, only for the final act to reveal he never did lose his place steps ahead. That’s a delicate balance, but, impressively, the talented Jon Hamm fills out and modernizes his character for the 2020s with the confidence of Fletch himself.
The rest of the charming power of Confess, Fletch relies on the kind of movie the viewer was hoping for. Fans of the Chevy Chase films Fletch and Fletch Lives will be pleased to find that not much has changed. Sure, the digital cinematography grays out every shot into the Marvel-like cement paste we’ve come to expect. But essentially, Confess, Fletch is a throwback to old school slob-vs-snobs comedies that didn’t feel the need to make up for bad jokes by calling so much importance to themselves via credits stacked with improv stars. However, that means this movie is left with not much to distinguish it from your typical quirky detective series like Psych, Monk, or whatever the USA network happens to be cooking up this week.
The film is a bland but functional watch with the humorous highlights coming from scenes introducing the quirky supporting cast. While he gets a few great zingers off, the comedy of Fletch himself has been transferred to them, robbing him of the disguise-as-character antics for which he’s known. Perhaps it is a shame that Fletch didn’t become a series on the USA network; we hear that there, characters are welcome.
Confess Fletch is out now in the US