Chicago Sun-Times

Hamm makes terrific debut as the snarky Fletch


We’ve heard talk of a “Fletch” reboot or sequel or 2.0 for some three decades, with everyone from Jason Lee to Brad Pitt to Ben Affleck to Will Smith to Jason Sudeikis mentioned as possible successors to the role made famous by Chevy Chase in the ’80s. After 30+ years of starts and stops, the ubiquitous actor/pitchman Jon Hamm finally takes the mantle in the dryly funny “Confess, Fletch,” and for anyone who has enjoyed Hamm’s post-Don Draper comedic work on “SNL,” “30 Rock, “Curb” and even when he’s wooing a clueless Flo in those insurance commercial­s, it comes no surprise to see Hamm effortless­ly slipping into the role of one Irwin M. “Fletch” Fletcher and making it his own.

Directed with a kind of bouncy-noir flair by the reliable Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Adventurel­and”) and based on the second of Gregory McDonald’s series of mystery novels, “Confess, Fletch” kicks off with Hamm’s title character finding a dead body in the opulent Boston townhouse where he’s been staying, courtesy of his Italian girlfriend. When the veteran detective Monroe (Roy Wood Jr.) and his rookie partner Griz (Ayden Mayeri) arrive on the scene, Fletch seems strangely unruffled by the body in the living room and they’re immediatel­y convinced Fletch is the culprit — but as Fletch points out, he called them and waited for them to arrive. Besides, it’s time for a Fletch mystery in which Fletch investigat­es a murder, and in the process, clears his own name. Let’s go!

We’re soon plunged into a plot that expands like an inflatable mattress, as we learn Fletch’s new girlfriend is one Angela Di Grassi (Lorenza Izzo), whose father, Count Di Grassi, has been kidnapped, with the culprits demanding one of the count’s priceless Picassos as ransom. Problem is, someone has stolen the count’s collection of masterpiec­es.

Fletch’s investigat­ion leads to a variety of colorful characters joining the mix, including the germaphobe art dealer Ronald Horan (Kyle MacLachlan); a gossipy next-door neighbor (Annie Mumulo) who is a disaster of a human being; the count’s new wife (Marcia Gay Harden, affecting a wildly over-thetop Italian accent), who keeps asking Fletch if he’s trying to seduce her when he’s clearly not trying to seduce her; and Fletch’s suitably gruff, former newspaper editor, Frank, who is played by Hamm’s old “Mad Men” running mate John Slattery, and my only complaint about that is we don’t get enough scenes of Hamm and Slattery together.

Whereas the original “Fletch” went for broad comedy, with Chase donning a number of goofy disguises, “Fletch, Confess” is played in a much lower key, as Hamm’s version of the character simply changes names and personas to impersonat­e different people. He’s terrific, as is the Chilean actress Lorenza Izzo, who was so memorable as Leo’s Italian wife in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and plays a similarly energetic and electric character here. It might be another 30 years before we get the next “Fletch,” but if Hamm is up for a repeat appearance, I’d be more than pleased to come along for the ride.

 ?? MIRAMAX ?? The hero of “Confess, Fletch” (Jon Hamm) is suspected of murder and tries to clear his name.
MIRAMAX The hero of “Confess, Fletch” (Jon Hamm) is suspected of murder and tries to clear his name.

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