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)