Here’s Why ‘Fletch Lives’ Isn’t A Terrible Movie

Features Editor
10.08.14 14 Comments
fletch lives

Universal

One day perhaps the world will see another Fletch film after 25 years of false starts. Jason Sudeikis’ name surfaced back in March as a possible replacement for Chevy Chase in the iconic role of Irwin Fletcher, but there has been no official confirmation or additional chatter about the project and it’s not like rumors have to be shot down to render them useless; sometimes all it takes is time.

Until Fletch Won (or whatever it winds up being called) breaks from tradition and advances toward production, though, we still have Gregory McDonald’s novels, original film, and its tonally divergent sequel, Fletch Lives. You may also know the latter as “that other Fletch movie.”

Poorly received at the time of its release (but not an outright bomb), Fletch Lives is often overlooked by those who love the first one so much that they can’t tolerate a slightly lesser work and contemporary cinematic theologians that like to go along with the view that Fletch Lives is a pulseless cash-grab like a lot of Chevy Chase films.

I’m not going to try and sell you on the idea that Fletch Lives is some misunderstood classic. It’s not, but it does have its merits:

The Characters

Even Chevy Chase has admitted that the plot of Fletch Lives isn’t as strong as the plot of the first film. Part of that has to be attributed to the change in screenwriters from Andrew Bergman to Leon Capetanos for the sequel. Bergman, who also co-wrote Blazing Saddles, actually wrote a script for a Fletch sequel that was based on McDonald’s novel, “Fletch and the Man Who,” but it was rejected for whatever reason and Capetanos’ wholly original jaunt was chosen instead.

If you liked the silly disguises that Chevy Chase donned in Fletch and didn’t think that they were a blight on the film, then that change likely didn’t affect you since Capetanos’ script doubled down on those crowd pleasing antics.

In Fletch Lives, Chevy Chase masquerades as Nostradamus, Eldridge Clever, Elmer-Fudd Gantry, Peggy Lee Zorba, Ed Harley, Peter Lemonjello, and others. Was there simply too much of a good thing? That’s a matter of opinion, but even the most jaded viewer would likely have a hard time slighting Chase’s commitment to the bit. Honestly, it’s his execution that milks laughter from these silly character moments thanks to his quick wit, and though it isn’t the most highbrow way to get laughs, it does the job. Repeatedly.

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