He Said/She Said #10: Fletch
He Said/She Said is a bi-weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.
Every comedian has their heyday. Even comedians that have managed to stick around for a while have a time period where they were on top of their game and hitting on all cylinders. For Chevy Chase, that period was in the late 70’s and early 80’s. In that time, he was still cracking audiences up on SNL as well as churning out classic comedies like FLETCH and VACATION. But for my money, FLETCH is the pinnacle of his comedic heights and even after repeat viewings, I still find this to be a hilarious movie.
But this isn’t a slapstick comedy; this is Chevy being Chevy. You might remember his failed talk show of the 90’s or some of his recent movie performances where he looked very uncomfortable and out of his element. Well, forget about that here because he is as natural as can be as the smooth-talking Fletch. He delivers some great lines and offers up a very memorable character, very similar to Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley from BEVERLY HILLS COP.
There are some cheesy 80’s moments that I could have done without, but overall, this is a funny film that stands the test of time very well. A lot of those moments catch you off guard and can range from as obvious as Chevy donning a funny disguise or Chevy making a passing comment. And even though the sequel (FLETCH LIVES) didn’t get as much credit, it carries on with the tone set in the first and provides just as many laughs.
The 80’s were a travesty in many ways: clothing, hairstyles and some pretty horrible movies (see Howard the Duck), but as far as music, dancing and comedy it was a good era. I’ll agree that Beverly Hills Cop stood the test of time, but Fletch—really? Fletch didn’t even fall into that “good comedy” category. As the matter of fact, it was such an unmemorable movie I’m having a difficult time even recalling what it was about.
Chevy Chase was and is a great comedian, but Fletch really isn’t the masterpiece some would have you believe. A journalist who gets stories by dressing up in disguise to get the scoop should make for a fairly entertaining film– but it doesn’t. The story is lame, the one-liners are weak and the whole film falls flat on its face. Mr. Chase does wonders when he is put into an awkward or bad situation and has to deal with it (see any Vacation movie), that is when he is a good comedian. But put him into a semi-serious, His Girl Friday-type of movie where he has to rely on the timing of the lines and how well they are given, that is where he falls short.
I can’t for the life of me understand why this is loved so much, it’s not only unfunny but really slow paced and boring. Chevy Chase is good, but if you want to see him in comedy gold, then just watch him on old SNL reruns and leave Fletch in the 80’s where it belongs.