Film: Confess, Fletch

Positive buzz drew me to Confess, Fletch (2022), an appealing, throwback comedy reminiscent of simpler times. Jon Hamm takes up the mantle as Irwin “I.M.” Fletcher (played by Chevy Chase in the original movies). Fletch is a rakish investigative reporter with a knack for getting into trouble and solving crimes. He stumbles into hot water when, returning from abroad, he enters a sight-unseen rental apartment—only to find a dead woman on the living-room floor. Even though he calls the murder in to the police, he winds up a suspect to the police inspector assigned to the case, “Slowpoke” Monroe (Roy Wood, Jr.). But Fletch has his own ideas, and immediately goes to work trying to clear himself of what he is convinced is a frame—which might have something to do with his recently met Italian girlfriend Angela de Grassi (Lorenza Izzo), her eccentric mother-in-law the Contessa (Marcia Gay Harden), and a stack of valuable, stolen paintings.

Considering it’s based a Gregory Mcdonald mystery series that dates back to the seventies, the old-fashioned vibe of Confess, Fletch makes total sense—and given the rampant artificiality of modern cinema, that vibe is gloriously refreshing. Not that the film is a masterpiece, but it’s charming, slick, and intelligently crafted. Much of the success stems from Hamm’s adroit navigation of Fletch as a character; over-confident arrogance can be a tough sell these days, but Hamm walks the line effortlessly, managing to remain accessible even when his character trends annoying. The supporting cast’s heavier hitters—Harden, Kyle MacLachlan, John Slattery—are nicely deployed, even as they’re overshadowed by lesser-known actors like Ayden Mayeri, Annie Mumolo, and Lucy Punch. The combined efforts of everyone involved result in an extremely ejoyable mystery-comedy. In a better world, it would spawn sequels or similar projects, but it will likely remain an outlier here in our timeline.

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