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The One-Line Summary: Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher (Chevy Chase) is an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times and is offered $50,000 dollars to kill a rich man who claims to be suffering from cancer, but when he does some digging, as only the clever and tenacious Fletch can do, uncovers a plot involving real estate conspiracy, drug trafficking, and marital infidelity, which allows the titular hero to dress up as a wild assortment of crazy characters to follow up leads and become enamored with the sexy wife the bad guy is deceiving.
The Two-Line Blurb: Based loosely on a series of novels by Gregory Mcdonald, the film adaption trusts the success of this movie entirely on the skills and abilities of physical comedian Chevy Chase, who established a core Chevy Chase character trait of deadpan delivery for one season on the popular long running Saturday Night Live sketch comedy show and has never looked back, using that style for every performance since, sometimes well and sometimes not. Whether one enjoys this rather pedestrian but sometimes laugh-out-loud comedy will depend largely on how well one can take Chase, who seems to be enjoying the platform the story offers but resists diving in too deep.
The Three-Line Set-up: Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) is not who he seems to be, initially hiring Fletch to put him out of his misery, but as Fletch questions everything, decides a little background check is in order by talking with man’s doctor (while receiving a rectal exam) and pretending to be a tennis pro at a club where Stanwyk’s wife plays. Further suspicious of Stanwyk, he learns the man has a private jet and so decides to head to the hangar dressed as a mechanic and take a closer look at the plane.
The Four-Line Moment: Upon arrival, as he snoops around the hangar, a pair of mechanics spot him and think he is from “Ajax” delivering some parts. Fletch quickly adopts the persona, claiming he is a supervisor and is waiting for the others to arrive, but begins inspecting the plane as the two men ask questions. The scene really establishes the character’s ability to master any situation and adapt fast to whatever is thrown at him as he manipulates and convinces the men that he knows exactly what he is doing even though clearly doesn’t. But he gets all the information he needs.
The Five-Word Review: No masterpiece but still fun.