To confess to Fletch is to admit the original Chevy Chase-starring feature is not that good. It smacks of arrogantly zany and empty comedic pratfalls which, when tied to a plot, work as expected and intended. Chase was and still is regarded as an unparalleled comedian, but the shtick of the time is dated, it was then and it is now. Not for some offhand remark or track record of controversy, which Chase has, but because the mainstream of comedy will showcase not the cream of the crop but whatever bloated corpse is floating to the top of it. Deep under the surface is the good stuff, and although Confess, Fletch, did not receive the boom the original series did, it was never going to.
Jon Hamm and Kyle MacLachlan joining forces for a murder mystery, a basketball cap-wearing Hamm and a villainous, obviously enjoyable MacLachlan, is tremendous. Bumbling antics sold well by Hamm see a role Rob Delaney could slip into, like a comfortable pair of used slippers. Hamm is a fine hand to have here though, producing the departure of reason with great effect. He seems simply unhooked to the real world and is instead on a plain of his own, and that right there is the problem with Confess, Fletch. It applies the same pressures and one-liners as A Touch of Cloth, but the straight portrayals surrounding the out-of-the-loop yet always aware Fletch mean Confess, Fletch has a glorious stretch of pacing issues and unfunny plot developments.
Plain and simple, the pistons pumping away in unison but separate, Confess, Fletch, struggles with momentum. At least it does not pander to a potential, returning audience. Instead, Fletch shares name and name alone with the originals Chase helmed. Respected name Greg Mottola marches on behind the camera, trying his best to bring out a real love for an old character who was passed up by acclaim over and over. Freelance journalists do get to drink Negroni in Italy while wearing beige colours, that much can be confirmed. Venice is so wonderful for art theft, wouldn’t you agree? Fletch certainly believes so, and where Hamm works well as the funnyman against typecast, the rest of the cast follows suit in varying degrees of quality and fashion. Straight-shooting detectives feel a tad Murderville, but MacLachlan and Lorenzo Izzo are up to speed.
Maintaining this delicate blend of Fletch and dapper Mad Men egotism, Confess, Fletch straddles two lanes and hopes to make the best of both. It is not the car crash it could be, always veering into one lane or the other when it matters most. But driving at this speed, and facing off against traffic hurling down the road, like a tide, is not advisable. Much of the humour comes from the spotty recollections, the out-of-place interests of those higher up in art or finance. Those high and mighty members of the art community are not into electronic dance music, that is for council managers and journalists who, because their Tassimo pods have yet to be delivered, need some surge of energy jolting them awake as they travel through the slacker moments of Confess, Fletch.