Arriving in Italy to visit his heiress girlfriend (Lorenza Izzo), Irwin 'Fletch' Fletcher (Jon Hamm) finds himself in the middle of a web of murders and high art theft where he's the prime suspect of a number of crimes. Using his wit and his ability to talk himself in and out of any situation, Fletch tries to prove his innocence, or die trying...
For a period of time in the late '70s and early '80s, you had a string of movies where the central protagonist was not some hulking bodybuilder adorned with bullet chains or wearing a cape and mask and in desperate need of therapy. Sometimes, the protagonists were smart-ass losers and low-key hustlers. Shady, yes. Morally ambiguous, sure. Likeable? Absolutely. The shadiness and moral ambiguity are why you grew to like them. Movies like 'Caddyshack', 'The Taking of Pelham 123', even 'Ghostbusters' had some of it. Among them was 'Fletch', starring Chevy Chase at his apex as the fast-talking journalist who gets caught up in a web of schemes involving rich people with poor judgment.
'Confess, Fletch' is a similar vibe. Like its source material, it's a pulpy tear through beautiful locations, with beautiful people, and ugly turnabouts. It's such a breezy, enjoyable affair that you'll be more than happy to overlook some of the cliches and the inconsistencies because, well, the central character works off of charm and a wink. This feels like the role Jon Hamm was always meant to play but never got the chance to because of 'Mad Men'. Where Don Draper is dour and angry, Fletch is playful and jolly. If you've ever watched any of his comedy work on '30 Rock' or even his interviews on 'Between Two Ferns', you can see that Hamm is a gifted comedic performer who is only now getting the chance to lead with it. He's terrific in this, completely comfortable with his surroundings even if he's bullshitting his way through it all.
The supporting cast is equally game. The always dependable Kyle MacLachlan is in there as a sleazy art dealer, while Roy Wood Jr. is a perfect foil to Hamm's wise-cracking ways. Annie Mumolo steals a scene as an absent-minded neighbour, while Marcia Gay Harden is a gas as the Italian countess mother. Even 'Mad Men' alum John Slattery gets a role in this, and for the briefest of moments, you're back in the offices of Sterling Cooper with one of their lighter moments.
Greg Mottola's filmography has been pretty spotty since his 2007 hit, 'Superbad'. There was the so-so 'Adventureland', the very poor 'Paul', and the less said about 'Clear History' or 'Keeping Up With The Joneses', the better. Yet, prior to these, Mottola worked on two of the best comedy series of the new millennium - 'Arrested Development' and 'The Comeback'. In other words, when he's given good material to work with, he utilises it fully. Here in 'Confess, Fletch', he's got a game cast up for fun, a pageturner of a script, and all of it with flash and sizzle. It's easily Mottola's best movie since 'Superbad', and if there's a sequel in the works - and most likely there is - he deserves another crack at it.
There's an easygoing charm to how it wrangles the story and the plot, and Jon Hamm is pitch-perfect for the role. It might not be as smart as it thinks it is, but it's still good, enjoyable fun.