Fletch | Chicago Reader

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Michael Ritchie's 1985 mystery comedy has the pleasant, modest feel of a Fox B picture from the 30s—a Charlie Chan with a sense of humor. Chevy Chase stars as Gregory McDonald's paperback hero, a wisecracking newspaperman who bluffs his way through an investigation of a drug ring by improvising false identities and exuding a seamless sangfroid. Chase and Ritchie make a strong, natural combination: the union of their two flip, sarcastic personalities produces a fairly definitive example of the comic style of the 80s, grounded in detachment, underreaction, and cool contempt for rhetorically overblown authority figures. It isn't the most fertile school of comedy (for one thing, it leaves out any notion of plausible human behavior), but it does make for a decent evening's entertainment. With Tim Matheson, Joe Don Baker, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, and Richard Libertini.

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