Fletch Lives: An Underrated 80s Comedy Classic?

Many believe the 80s comedy sequel Fletch Lives is one of Chevy Chase’s worst movies, but we think it’s a lot better than its rep suggests.

By now, everyone agrees that 1985’s Fletch, starring Chevy Chase, is a classic comedy. Indeed, the mixture of thriller and comedy made the movie iconic in its own way, with it an adaptation of the classic series by Gregory Mcdonald. In it, Chase played investigative reporter Irwin M. Fletcher, who is hired to kill a millionaire in a case of mistaken identity and is able to uncover a conspiracy involving corrupt cops, drug trafficking, and more. What made the movie unique compared to many eighties comedies was the compelling storyline, which came from Mcdonald’s book, the solid mixture of action and comedy, and that amazing soundtrack by Harold Faltermeyer. 

It was such a big hit that in 1989, it got a sequel, Fletch Lives. However, while the first film is considered a classic, many maintain that the sequel is terrible, mostly because it didn’t bother to adapt one of Mcdonald’s novels and just became another Chevy Chase comedy. Indeed, the film is lacking the action that made the first film so unique in Chase’s career, with it being replaced by more disguises and pratfalls. The film was poorly received by critics and seemed to end what should have been a long-running series for Chase, with no further Fletch films being made until the recent Confess, Fletch starring Jon Hamm. But, as our host Kier Gomes maintains, the movie is a bit of a classic in its own way, with it consistently funny (maybe even more so than the original), with a lot of the elements that made the first film work featured just as strongly here. While many believe the film was a flop, it actually opened in first place at the box office, and outgrossed other classics from the year, such as Road House and the James Bond movie Licence to Kill. So why is its reputation so bad? We dig into it in this deep dive into Fletch Lives!

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.