Monday, June 9, 2008

Fletch Lives

Fletch Lives; Comedy, USA, 1989; D: Michael Ritchie, S: Chevy Chase, Hal Halbrook, Patricia Kalemar, Julianne Phillips, R. Lee Ermey, Richard Libertini, Randall 'Tex' Cobb, Phil Hartman

Reporter Fletch, after solved mystery from part one, gets strange news: his aunt died and left him a mansion. He goes to Louisiana only to discover his estate is in the middle of a swamp, and thus regards it as worthless, but quickly he hears that someone is offering 225.000 $ for it. That seems odd to him, and when he even gets accused of murder he and his new friend Goldsteen start investigating the matter. The most suspicious person is the rich TV evangelist Farnsworth who summons him up in his TV show to convert him. It turns out the perpetrator is Hamilton, who wants to turn the estate into a toxic waste storage, but Goldsteen stops him since he turns out to be a cop.

The sequel "Fletch Lives" turned out surprisingly daft, dynamic, funny and often even superior to the original. Only die hard critics, who are already through classical conditioning taught that every sequel is automatically weaker the the original, could hate it if they loved the 1st film, though even the 2nd part can hardly be called a quality achievement. Those who know with what kind of humor comedian Chevy Chase often operates will probably be amused by his coping with dilemma situations in Louisiana, no matter how far fetched they seem, but the humor reaches too often for cheap ideas or is based solely on Fletch belittling someone. However, when director Michael Ritchie puts some effort into it, he is able to occasionally conjure up a few hilarious jokes, such as when Fletch is in a prison cell and asks a thug who wants to assault him why he is here, upon which he replies ("Molesting a dead horse!") or when Fletch is shouting "Zulu! Zulu!" after he is able to chase away the Ku Klux Klan. In another funny sequence, Fletch plays a corpse so a greedy undertakes takes his watch and makes an offer to the protesting man who brought him in the morgue in the first place: "I'll tell you what: you call me anytime and I'll tell you what time it is!" Those are small pleasures in an otherwise standard and heavy handed comedy.


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