Something to watch tonight: Tuesday 12 December
Confess, Fletch (Mottola, 2022)
Of all the modern actors who have become inextricably linked to their best-known characters, Jon Hamm is the most. Inextricably linked, that is.
Seven seasons on Mad Men has him living rent free in my mind as Don Draper, to the extent that whenever I see him on screen, I think “That’s Don Draper playing a different role.”
I think this is a lack of imagination on my part rather than a lack of talent on his, but no other actor fails to transcend his established persona more than Hamm.
The character of Irwin Maurice “Fletch” Fletcher was created by Gregory MacDonald and appeared in several novels from 1974 to 1994, arriving as a big screen character in two very loosely adapted movies starring Chevy Chase.
Since Fletch Lives in 1989, several attempts were made to bring the character back but nothing succeeded until Hamm and writer-director Greg Mottola (Adventureland, Superbad) got involved in 2020. The result is Confess, Fletch, a film that reviewers like to call “an amiable romp”.
Fletch is a wisecracking former investigative journalist with an exaggerated belief in his own abilities and a tendency to get embroiled in other people’s trouble. In Confess, Fletch, that is discovering a murder at his Boston AirBnB while he is trying to track down millions of dollars worth of art stolen from the father of his new Italian girlfriend (Lorenza Izzo).
Fletch is instantly a suspect in the killing so he goes about trying to prove his innocence as well as somehow connecting the murder to the missing paintings.
The slow-moving cops on the case are wonderfully written and nicely played by Roy Wood Jr. and Ayden Mayeri – character work is a real strength of this film – and Hamm’s Mad Men co-star John Slattery makes a fun appearance as a dishevelled newspaper editor. Special note for Annie Mumulo who pulls out all the stops as a hilariously distracted neighbour.
Confess, Fletch got great reviews last year but didn’t manage a cinema release in New Zealand so I’ve been looking forward to it showing up in some capacity. It did not let me down – there were plenty of laughs and a decent plot with a few gentle twists.
As producer, Hamm is clearly looking for a franchise he can have to himself but the botched Covid-impacted release last year seems to have dealt a blow to that plan.
This is a shame as I would happily see lots of films with Hamm as Fletch, and I look forward to the day when I think of him as this super-relaxed, witty and charming rogue before I am eventually reminded of anti-hero Don Draper once again.
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