Fletch Lives Reviews
Though I enjoyed Fletch, I wasn't a person who necesarrily loved it for any particular reason. And since Fletch Lives is a follow-up to that film and a sequel in general, I had very low expectations. I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of Fletch Lives.
The first gag in Fletch Lives comes from protagonist Irwin "Fletch" Fletcher uncovering another story under the disguise of a stereotypical motel maid with nothing more than the costume and wig. The humour is clearly intended to come from the fact that it isn't convincing, but it isn't funny either. This foreshadows an unfunny film which is a prophecy that remains unfulfilled when the film gets past its intro. There is a lot to suggest it will end up bad because after this happens, a conventional plot dynamic joins the story in which Fletch inherets a massive property and gets tangled in a murder investigation. Despite this, Michael Ritchie finds ways to work around the story and keep in the spirit of his work on many other comedies. Rather than focus on the story, Michael Ritchie puts the majority of focus onto ensuring that the humour in each gag is maximised to its full capabilities. He doesn't neglect the need for the story to function, he just lets it do its own thing while he specializes in what he is best at. Comedies are clearly the man's speciality, and though Fletch Lives is hardly as original as many of his other films, it still transcends expectations as a sequel delivers plenty of laughs.
The actual narrative in Fletch Lives has some rather edgy subject matter since the tale concerns murder, corruption and roadhouse bikers. Yet the premise hardly takes itself seriously, powering through these plot points with humourous spirit and little drama. To keep things enjoyable, Fletch Lives maintains a light nature about it, making for an easy viewing experience. This is largely because the main character takes his job seriously but never gives a second thought to the people he encounters along the way. There are jokes found in essentially every situation with the least entertaining moments coming from the obligatory yet extremely subtle addition of a romance story as a sideplot. The story never gets bogged down by moments of senseless narrative building or dramatic distractions. It is very clearly a comedy which intends to keep moving along at a reasonably fast pace, cutting through many of its familiar conventions with enough speed to ignore its thin story. There is no denying that the story in Fletch is not brilliant and doesn't carry the originality of its predecessor, nor as much of a focus on humourous investigative journalism since it has a larger scope of narrative and many more supporting characters. However, the narrative is far more loose this time around which allows the feature to spiral into a series of different comic sketches which offers Chevy Chase an opportunity to flex his comedic muscles in the context of multiple different disguises and situations with a loose narrative to tie it all together. Fletch Lives is largely a very different film to its predecessor due to a different kind of story and alternative structure, and this means that it doesn't attempt to copy its predecessor though it carries a similar sense of humour and the same protagonist over. Michael Ritchie once again brings an energetic love for the material to the character of Fletch and delivers a sequel which ultimately stands as an enjoyable comedy of its own right, as well as an effective sequel.
The most entertaining part of Fletch Lives is the fact that Chevy Chase is tenaciously confident in the role. In the favourite role of his career, Chevy Chase brings one of his finest characters back to Fletch Lives and brings him to life once more. The man has a clearly passionate love for the role and knows how to balance the serious nature of the character as an investigator with a love for the comic material, taking an approach which echoes the glory days of Leslie Nielsen with a much faster attitude. The material comes to Chevy chase almost instinctively and he fires it out with a swift and merciless pace which gives viewers a time to laugh but not enough time to question anything before another joke comes along. The man is a very charismatic comedian who brings a humourous mood to every situation in the film, bouncing off every other actor who challenges him. The entirety of Fletch Lives rests very heavily on the shoulders of Chevy Chase, and Fletch Lives proves that he is capable of supporting it. I must say I was surprised just how consistently funny Chevy Chase was, so Fletch Lives has given me the inclination to explore his other films even more so.
R. Lee Ermey is also a memorable cast member. Portraying the tele-evangalist Jimmy Lee Farnsworth, R. Lee Ermey is very much against type for once in Fletch Lives. Surely enough, he commands the role very nicely. Though often typecast in the role of authority figures, particularly of those within the military, R. Lee Ermey is offered the chance to work in a comedy film this time. He is able to carry over enough of his natural persona to deliver an intense voice articulation while he mimics a stereotypical media preacher with a strong dedication to the facade of a TV host with healing abilities. R. Lee Ermey's charisma is very rich, and it's a refreshing change of pace to witness him in a comedy.
Hal Holbrook also shares some strong interactions with Chevy Chase, as does Randall "Tex" Cobb.
Fletch Lives has a looser structure than its predecessor and a more conventional plot, but with Michael Ritchie's fast-paced directorial skill and Chevy Chase's endless comic spirit, it proves to be a surprisingly worthy sequel.