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‘Fletch’ / ‘Fletch Lives’ (Special Edition Blu-ray review)

Kino Lorber

Fletch

I figured it was time to not only revisit the first two, but actually read the books. I finished the first book a bit ago and thought that there was almost no similarity between the character in the book and the character in this movie. This movie is pure Chevy Chase and the book is a mystery with a sense of humor.

Of course, that only makes this a bad Fletch adaptation, not a bad movie. It’s one of the better of Chevy’s vehicles from the height of his powers. He’s always said that this was his favorite movie of his because he was able to just be himself, and I see it. Fletch (in the movie) IS Chevy Chase.

The funny thing is that the Fletch in the second book (Confess, Fletch) resembles this version of the character more than the one in the original book. But…whatever.

Fletch isn’t the only character who is completely different. Basically, ALL of the characters are different. George Wendt’s Fat Sam is not the philosophical, beaten drug dealer of the book, Gummy is not a rich kid who slums it to be on the streets…all of this doesn’t matter that much because the movie is so much fun. (Besides, if you had never read the books you wouldn’t know any of this.)

Definitely a classic of 80s comedy and classic Chevy Chase at a time when he could do (almost) no wrong. If only those days had lasted.

BTW, this is only Geena Davis’s second movie. She did a lot of TV between Tootsie and this one, but no movies. She is WOEFULLY underused here as Larry, the junior reporter (I guess?) who is obviously very smitten with Fletch. That’s her entire character. But she’s Geena Davis, so she leaves an impression.

Extras include commentary, featurettes, a teaser and trailer.

Fletch Lives

This movie has really gotten a bad rap for he last 30+ years. I’m not going to say that it doesn’t deserve it because I can’t say that it’s a good movie. But it’s not nearly as bad as everyone said back then. There are some genuinely funny bits and seeing Hal Holbrook is always welcome.

The main problem is that it’s just incredibly silly.

The first Fletch movie, while definitely a comedy, was also a mystery. The mystery drove the story as opposed to the comedy driving. Fletch Lives is flat out comedy.

Yes, there was a weird dream sequence in the first movie, but the one in this one is a parody of Song Of The South.

Like…what? And there’s slapstick with a sword. It’s almost as if they just let Chevy write some comedy bits and then built the movie around them. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what happened since they decided not to base this on any of the books.

Really, the worst thing about the movie is the racism followed by the homophobia. The racism is made a little more “palatable” by the presence of Cleavon Little and the fact that Fletch is typically making fun of the racists. But there are moments where Fletch says some pretty cringy things to Calculus (Little). And the entire scene with the bikers…I don’t think any of that was particularly funny. (Although who doesn’t love Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb?)

Worth a watch if you’re a fan of Chevy. Not so much if you’re in it for the Fletch character because this doesn’t feel anything like the first film.

Extras include commentary, featurettes, a teaser and trailer.

 

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