I feel about the same about Fletch as I do Stripes. Which is funny, cause I know a lot of people love Fletch a lot more than Stripes, but it is of that time period. And if you are a fan of that era of comedy, when was the last time you sat down to watch something like Beverly Hills Cop? Cause that shit hasn’t aged well at all. Most of the great comedies of the 80′s revolve around an SNL vet trying their best to make less-than material work, to sometimes staggering results. Unless there’s an actual director, like John Landis, who can craft the jokes. I think Stripes works best of all these three mentioned movies, because Ivan Reitman, for better or worse, is an actually comedy director, and so he knows his punchlines. That’s not to denigrate from Micahel Richie, who directed the wonderful Smile, and The Candidate. But it’s a different thing.
Actually, it works to the film’s benefit because Fletch is really a mystery with a comic lead, much like the Thin Man films of yore. The story is that reporter Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher (Chevy Chase, in one of his last good roles) is hired by rich man Alan Stanwyck (Tim Matheson) to murder him. Fletch can see there’s something fishy going on, but his paper wants him to continue investigating the drugs on the beach story he’s got going. But the one story leads him to the other. Fletch benefits most from getting close to Stanwyck’s wife Gail (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson).