Chevy Chase brings Gregory MacDonald’s classic investigative journalist to life in this classic 80s film that is still damned funny, and a lot of fun to watch. When I first heard about this movie, they started re-releasing some of the novels, including the original, and I snapped a couple of them, but for me, they didn’t compare to the movie (I’ve recently added them to my collection again and plan to revisit them in the future).
Featuring the lovely Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Tim Matheson, George Wendt, Geena Davis, Joe Don Baker, M. Emmett Walsh and Richard Libertini (and a score by Harold Faltermeyer) this one delighted me as a teenager, and continues to entertain today.
Fletch writes a byline under the name Jane Doe, and this master of disguise is working undercover on the beach to find a drug connection on a big story he’s working on. He’s approached by Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) with a strange offer – to kill him.
Of course, Fletch says sure.
He doesn’t take everything at face value, however, and digs in to find out what is really going on and with a variety of outfits and hilarious names Fletch figures out what is going on, and Chase arguably delivers his best performance.
There are stories from behind the scenes that said they would shoot a take for Ritchie until he got what he wanted, and then would let Chase and cast ad-lib to see if they could get some comedic gold.
The mystery Fletch finds himself involved in isn’t extremely intricate, but it’s well-crafted, moves along at a lightning pace and the star power in the movie makes the film all the stronger. There’s not really a bad moment in the film, there are great comedic beats, an entertaining plot, and Chase is really at the top of his game here. Forget the Griswalds, this version of Chevy Chase will always be the one I go to.
And that soundtrack – as soon as I saw it in the shop and saw that it Harold Faltermeyer on it, I snapped that cassette right up and it got played over and over and over again. It was a white cassette with blue ink printing on it, and I flipped it over in my walkman and stereo so often that the ink faded right off of it.
I honestly hadn’t watched this movie since I had it in my VHS collection before the turn of the century, but putting it on, I was plunged right back into the joy of the film, and realised that I still knew almost all of Chase’s dialogue. I loved this movie when it came out, and adore it now. I think I need to watch it again.