Comfortable and Furious

Fletch (1985)


The bad part is that I remember seriously liking Fletch as a child. It’s the movie where Chevy Chase is a wise-cracking undercover reporter in LA where he writes a column called “Jane Doe” (get it?) and is obsessed with the Lakers. What I find odd is that the movie is based on a book by Gregory McDonald; it’s odd because I kept wondering if McDonald really went so far as to write, “Fletch cracks another bad pun involving a historical figure — cue insanely shitty 80s music.” I’m not kidding, the music was so fucking bad that I hate this film. I’ve had “Don’t Stop Believing” stuck in my noggin for the past 24 hours — think about it. Man… nostalgia is a lying bitch, ain’t it?

So, in the true fashion of Reagan’s 80s, Fletch has gone undercover as a bum to investigate who is pushing drugs on Venice Beach. Cause that is so damn important. One Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) then asks Fletch to come to his Bel Air home and simply listen to a proposition. Just for listening, Fletch will be paid $1,000. Turns out Stanwyk wants Fletch to murder him. He has bone cancer and if he is killed then his wife will get a huge insurance payout. You know what? I really don’t feel like recounting the plot. Turns out it’s a trick and Stanwyk and the chief of police are pushing heroin and Stanwyk’s a bigamist and Fletch nails his hot blond wife (the super cute and busty Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) and M. Emmet Walsh sticks his finger up Chevy Chase’s ass.

I really wish I had more to say, but Fletch left me very flat. Sure, parts were kind of funny but in truth the bulk of it was cheesy and hackneyed. Over fifty percent of the jokes fall flat and on top of that, Chevy Chase is basically impossible to take in two doses. OK, fine, Vacation and European Vacation are notable exceptions. Nevertheless, I found it simply physically exhausting to watch him. The bad jokes — which somebody thought were so witty that they simply had to be in a film — just did not stop. Again, every third joke was funny — like when he told a nurse his name was “Dr. Rosenpenis” — but the other 66% hit me like Novocain. And then the unfunny became the monotonous which morphed in dull which I found to be strangulating. Couple that with a lousy ending that dragged and I have rarely been as relieved as I was when this fucker ended. I got my breath back.

Much like the hellish Saturday Night Live which spawned Chase, Fletch is palatable in ten-minute segments. “Ha ha, that was funny, see what’s on ESPN.” But taken as a whole… yeesh. Honestly, has anyone watched all 90 minutes of Saturday Night Live in a while? It’s been about fourteen or fifteen years for me, but the memory of sitting through that last half hour… Think Jon Lovitz doing his Frenchie bit. Horror: the skits which were written by the guy not funny enough to make it onto the first part of the show and the “players” haven’t rehearsed the material enough but even still the less-talented “comedians” tend to dominate and see it as their chance to shine — painful, heinous shit, 100% of the time. And, similar to how Chase acted here, you realize that nobody save for the glorified extras takes any of it seriously; the sketches are just there to pass the time. And really, if you stop and think about it, that’s Fletch.

(ps — I’m sorry this review is so bad, but I feel so deflated…)