Confess, Fletch Review

It’s often the company our title character keeps in Confess, Fletch that determines the success rate. Jon Hamm effortlessly wears the role of a former journalist who is forced to solve a murder. The urgency is due to I.M. Fletcher finding a female corpse in the house he’s staying at in the first scene. He calls the police station instead of 911 after the discovery. Why? The emergency part is over, according to him. His ambivalence results in humorous moments throughout. It also leads to him becoming the prime suspect.

Greg Mottola has directed comedies that killed like Superbad and Adventureland. He’s also behind the dud Keeping Up with Joneses, which costarred Hamm. This reboot of a franchise that yielded one of Chevy Chase’s finest pics in 1985 and a disappointing 1989 sequel is somewhere in between. When it’s funny, it’s quite funny. There’s also the matter of the mystery itself and it’s not very compelling.

Before Chevy made the often disguised wisecracker into his own vehicle, the character was based on a series of Greg Mcdonald novels. Confess, Fletch is based on his second book. It involves kidnappings and art thievery that our former “investigative reporter of some repute” (as he refers to himself) gets caught up in due to his romance with wealthy Italian contessa Angela (Lorenza Izzo).

Fletch may be the prime suspect to law enforcement, played memorably by partners Inspector Monroe (Roy Wood Jr.) and Detective Griz (Ayden Mayeri). He nonchalantly scopes out others. This includes Angela’s potentially gold digging stepmom The Countess (Marcia Gay Harden) and perhaps Angela herself. The Countess is an example of a character played quite broadly and while Harden seems to be having a ball, there’s other personalities that the movie could’ve benefited from with more screen time. I’m thinking specifically of Annie Mumolo’s gossipy next door neighbor and Lucy Punch as a jilted ex-wife of another suspect. I would’ve taken more bits with them over The Countess or Kyle MacLachlan’s EDM loving art dealer.

Just like Hamm’s take on the reputed reporter, it’s easy to go along for the ride. It was also easy to wish for more of what worked best. Ultimately I was about as involved in the plot mechanisms as Fletch himself and that’s sporadic.

**1/2 (out of four)

Knock Knock Movie Review

Eli Roth is certainly one of the modern day architects of the genre dubbed “torture porn” with his popular Hostel series and Knock Knock finds him parodying that kind of pic with decidedly mixed results. This is a campy exercise that is neither very funny with horror aspects that aren’t that frightening. We essentially end up with a cautionary tale about adultery that has been used far better in more serious material.

Speaking of architects, Keanu Reeves is architect Evan. He’s a happily married dude to a lovely Spanish wife and their two perfect kids. The family goes to the beach for the weekend and he stays behind to work (on Father’s Day no less). His dull night is interrupted by a knock at the door and it’s two very attractive young women (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armis) who claim they can’t find the party they’re supposed to attend. Naturally, the girls are drenched because it’s atmospherically pouring outside and Evan invites them in to dry off and find proper transportation. Of course, when he orders an Uber, the lag time is 45 minutes and that’s more than enough time for the lovely twosome to seduce Evan into a threesome. As an aside, there’s also enough time for Evan to show off his sweet DJ’ing skills from his former job many years ago.

There is no double walk of shame that follows. Instead Evan awakens to find the girl’s intentions with him are quite sadistic. The tone of Knock Knock becomes increasingly ridiculous as it lumbers along. All performances grow more hammy, including that of Reeves, whose dialogue eventually becomes more and more laughable. I’m fully aware that this is likely by Roth’s own design and there are some bizarre moments that do work. He’s a talented director who revels in B movie cliches, but the one joke premise here can only be stretched so far and the rubber band snaps rather quickly. There’s a lot of guilty behavior in Knock Knock but not much pleasure to be derived.

** (out of four)