But the first was a solid movie, with two mysteries that wind up coming together in the end. He's working on an undercover story, which gets him also involved in a rich guy's plan to kill himself. He bounces between the two, not realizing that the cases are related.
"Fletch Lives," is Chevy inheriting some property in the South and stumbling on a greedy guy's land grab. The disguises are pretty much the same. He likes using fake teeth. But here, it's not multiple mysteries, it's one mystery that has lots of red herrings. One is an evangelical church and A LOT of time is spent on this red herring, since it gives the film a chance to mock television preachers. And it goes all in, even though in the end they have nothing to do with the crime. Also, they do a "Zip-a-Dee Do-Dah" dream sequence that seems to just be there to fill time or slander the South.
The movie soundtrack is awful, typical 80s moog synthesizer music that sounds like it wants to be the soundtrack to "Beverly Hills Cop" so bad. The other problem is Chevy. A little Chevy goes a long way. I've seen him in so many different situations; talk shows, TV, film and there's a very fine line he often crosses. Basically, he's kind of a jerk who thinks he's better than everyone else. He thinks a lot of his comebacks and putdowns are funny and devestating, but in typical Chevy fashion, a lot of times they're just non sequiturs and baffling. They give him an assistant (a young Geena Davis) who looks up to him and admires him so, I guess, we're supposed to, too. They ditch her after the one movie. He's too busy mocking his boss or insulting his ex-wife's lawyer. It's one of those deals when your cracking wise with villains and rich jerks, but another when it's your long-suffering editor. We never see the ex-wife, but they try and make her seem awful so we'll not mind the abuse Fletch gives her lawyer. And, here's a thing; Chevy keeps getting into dangerous situations, with big guys and guns. And I never get the feeling he'll get out of them. He's not a fighter and it's here I can't see him talking his way out of it. Often, he has to be rescued. It's weird that it I even thought of it this way.
Chevy never comes off half as coy as he thinks he is, and I can see why there was never a third one...until now.
I'm happy they didn't do some sort of "origin" story about Fletch and who he is, like some kind of re-boot. It's the same character, simply recast, like James Bond or Tarzan. Hamm has a quirky irreverence and his disguises consist of wearing a hat or not. Or grabbing a nearby jacket and putting that on. They go the double mystery route, where there's a murder the police think he did and, separately, some stolen art he's trying to track down, so he's bouncing back and forth between those and butting heads with the police. It's a remarkable improvement.
It's all got me to thinking I need to re-read the books now. I really don't remember much about them except for an odd scene here and there.