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In 'Confess, Fletch,' Jon Hamm is good in the title role

Jon Hamm in Confess, Fletch (2022)
Jon Hamm in Confess, Fletch (2022)

If you’re heading into the new Fletch adaptation, you’ll need to leave your Chevy Chase at the door. People who’ve never read Gregory Mcdonald’s series about investigative reporter Irwin Maurice Fletcher almost certainly have Chase’s interpretation of the character imprinted on their brains, and trying to compare that to the new one will not serve you particularly well.

In Confess, Fletch, Jon Hamm now plays our hero, who at this point is a former investigative reporter, though one of some repute, he likes to remind us. He’s been hired to investigate the theft of some extremely expensive paintings from an Italian aristocrat. Upon arriving in Boston to look into the apparent sale of some of the missing paintings, Fletch comes upon a murdered woman in the living room of the house he’s staying in. As you might imagine, the police don’t totally seem to buy Fletch’s insistence that he had nothing to do with the woman’s death, especially since Fletch kind of treats the whole thing the way he treats most things, which is to say he’s shamelessly cheeky.

Hamm is good in the role, and a lot closer to the literary version of Fletch than Chevy Chase was, as this Fletch is less silly and a little harder to pin down—we know he’s got a plan, but we’re not always sure if he’s making it up as he goes along or if he’s got a broader vision he’s playing out. Or both. But this isn’t intended simply to be a showcase for its star, as anything with Chevy Chase could only be. Hamm understands the role he’s supposed to play, and often lets the nuttier characters in the story take the spotlight.

The movie is played loose, and maybe because of this, its rhythm is just a hair off. The comedic beats are a half-second too slow or fast, and instead of a buzzy mystery, we’re sometimes just bordering on languid. It all kept me a little too detached, feeling like I never quite settled in. Still, if Jon Hamm wants to step back into Fletch’s shoes again, I’m happy to let him take another shot.

Confess, Fletch is in theaters and on VOD.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.