Fletch

1985

Fletch

Critics Consensus

Quotably funny -- and fast-paced enough to smooth over the jokes that don't land -- Fletch is one of the best big-screen vehicles for Chevy Chase's brand of smug silliness.

77%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 30

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 45,098
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Movie Info

Chevy Chase added a classic comic hero to the film landscape with Fletch, one of his few truly popular star vehicles in a famously misguided post-Saturday Night Live career. Chase plays Irwin M. Fletcher, known to everyone as Fletch, a Los Angeles Lakers-loving investigative reporter with a gleeful disdain for deadlines and a knack for pushing the buttons of his frustrated editor (Richard Libertini). He's also known for donning numerous disguises and assuming zany false identities to help gain information. While pursuing an ongoing story about a powerful drug dealer who operates from Venice Beach, he comes across an intriguing offshoot in which he becomes intimately involved. Aviation executive Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) has an unusual proposition for Fletch: If Fletch agrees to an elaborate plan to kill him, for reasons Stanwyk refuses to divulge beyond explaining that he has bone cancer, Fletch will walk away with a healthy sum of money and a plane ticket to Brazil. Curious yet suspicious by profession, Fletch begins investigating Stanwyk's true motives, which leads him through numerous misadventures. Among them are a visit to a stuffy country club; a high-speed car chase with an unwitting passenger; repeat encounters with Stanwyk's wife (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), although she may not be his only one; and a trip to Provo -- that's Utah, not Spain. Inspired by a novel of the same name by Gregory McDonald, Fletch went from thriller to comedy as it was adapted into a vehicle for Chase. ~ Derek Armstrong, Rovi

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Cast

Chevy Chase
as Irwin `Fletch' Fletcher
Joe Don Baker
as Chief Karlin
Richard Libertini
as Frank Walker
Tim Matheson
as Alan Stanwyk
M. Emmet Walsh
as Dr. Dolan
George Wendt
as Fat Sam
Kenneth Mars
as Stanton Boyd
Grace Gaynor
as Mrs. Underhill
William Traylor
as Mr. Underhill
Tony Longo
as Detective
James Avery
as Detective
Bruce French
as Pathologist
Chick Hearn
as Himself
Alison La Placa
as Pan Am Clerk
Joe Praml
as Watchman
Penny Santon
as Velma Stanwyk
Robert Sorrells
as Marvin Stanwyk
Peggy Doyle
as Identification Nurse
Loraine Shields
as Records Nurse
Bill Sorrells
as Surfer Cop
Henry Bleeker
as Surfer Cop
Arnold Turner
as Reporter
Darren Dublin
as Reporter
Mary Battilana
as Madeline Turner
Donald Chaffin
as Banquet Guest
Merv Maruyama
as Chinese Busboy
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News & Interviews for Fletch

Critic Reviews for Fletch

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (7)

  • Admittedly, the storyline weaves all over the place, but no matter - Chase's performance and a plethora of daft and witty situations carry it past some structural rough spots.

    May 31, 2017 | Full Review…
  • A breezy, peppy frolic and a tour de force for Chase.

    Dec 8, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Michael Ritchie's 1985 mystery comedy has the pleasant, modest feel of a Fox B picture from the 30s.

    Dec 8, 2007 | Full Review…
  • This could be Bob Hope material c1942 and Chase does acquit himself well (though with cool reserve) in the gags-to-plot transitions. What dulls the enterprise is that Ritchie so keeps his distance from every character.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Whenever the move threatens to work, there's Chevy Chase with his monotone, deadpan cynicism, distancing himself from the material.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A lightweight, breezy experience that, by never pretending to be anything more than what it is, disarms criticism.

    May 20, 2003

Audience Reviews for Fletch

  • Aug 11, 2015
    Chevy Chase has always been good at playing these sort of smug, arrogant assholes probably, well, because he is one from what you hear from the people he's worked with and all the stories that have come out of how much of an asshole he is. But, and this is removing the man himself from his craft, if you will, Chevy Chase can be a genuinely funny man if his heart is truly into something. Of course he did go through a pretty terrible run of films in the 90s, not to mention his disastrous talk show, but I think this was at a point where Chevy was either bitter or had stopped caring enough to actually make an effort in the films he appeared in post-80s. But, again, I genuinely think that Chevy Chase was a funny man, I just think he had great comedic timing and delivery. While I wouldn't ever say that Chevy Chase ever reached the heights of what his career could've been as compared to someone like, say, Bill Murray, though Bill had his own struggles in the 90s before having his career resurrected by Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola, I think that Chevy can be a funny man when he's inspired. This film definitely proves it. With that said this movie, at best, is pretty good. Perhaps it's the fact that it hasn't aged well, this movie is 30 years old by this point, but there were certainly parts of the film that really missed the mark for me. Like the whole airport hangar scene, this is probably the most unfunny scene in the entire film, it's like none of the jokes worked. And it's not like it's a one-minute scene and you move on, it was pretty long and the longer it went the less funny it got. So that was the one scene that I'd have probably cut out, or made shorter, if it was up to me. It just didn't work very well, for the most part. And that's also the thing about the film, it just keeps getting less and less funny as it goes along. It starts out fast and, somehow, as the film progresses and you uncover more of the mystery, it starts to become less and less interesting. I just wasn't that invested into the Fletch's investigation anyway, it was just poorly handled to me. They just did not a good job at exposition, in my opinion. It was all over the place and you didn't really get a feel for the story past just giving Chevy an outlet for his sarcasm and costume usage. That's all it pretty much boils down to. The story is secondary. Honestly, this film is barely good to be honest. It actually started off very well and, as mentioned, the film's quality kept descending the longer it went. It's not like it jumped off a cliff, it took slow and small steps towards that cliff, but it never actually jumped off of it. It was cut off at a point where I, overall, would have to say the film is good, but it's not enthusiastic at all. Chevy Chase is good and he carries this film, but it's one that gets slightly worse the more it goes on and I can't really ignore that fact. I'd recommend it if you have Netflix, or it came on TV, but there's better Chevy Chase movies out there from the 80s. This isn't close to being the best.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 24, 2013
    Fletch is a classic '80s comedy that's outrageously fun and full of laughs. Chevy Chase stars as Irwin Fletcher, an investigative reporter whose expose on L.A. drug smuggling takes a bizarre turn when he receives an unusual proposition from a wealthy businessman. The film is especially effective at using the type of SNL sketch comedy that Chase is so good at, and he gives a seminal performance that made Fletch into one of the most popular and beloved characters of his career. Additionally, the storytelling's well done, particularly in how it builds intrigue as Fletch's investigation unfolds. Cleverly written and brilliantly executed, Fletch is a hilarious comedy that's tremendously entertaining.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Kinda reminds me of the whiter version of Shaft for some reason. Chase is good and has some pretty funny quotes, and I enjoyed many of the scenes.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Aug 15, 2011
    Kinda reminds me of the whiter version of Shaft for some reason. Chase is good and has some pretty funny quotes, and I enjoyed many of the scenes.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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