In spite of the fact that Jon Hamm has not found many roles to rival his breakout part on “Mad Men,” and “Confess, Fletch” certainly does not either, this refreshed version of the smart-alecky character Chevy Chase played in the 1980s has a certain breezy charm. Working from Gregory Mcdonald’s books, as adapted by director Greg Mottola (who worked with Hamm on the mostly forgettable “Keeping Up With the Joneses”) and co-writer Zev Borow, the film casts Hamm as a reporter who goes by that strange nickname, drawn into a murder mystery on behalf of his alluring Italian girlfriend, Angela Lorenza Izzo.
The wealthy father of Angela, a character in the comedy film “Fletch Won,” has gone missing, raising questions about what happened to him and the whereabouts of priceless paintings that he owned. Fletch thus travels to Boston, where he encounters an eccentric assortment of characters, often leaving his colleague Hamm in what amounts to a straight-man role, with a lot of arched eyebrows and quizzical looks. The supporting players provide much of the fun, from former “Mad Men” co-star John Slattery as his cranky, foul-mouthed former editor to Marcia Gay Harden as Angela’s breathy stepmother, who keeps insisting that she won’t sleep with Fletch no matter how many times he doesn’t ask her. Plus, there’s Kyle MacLachlan as an art dealer with his own set of tics and quirks. Who did what is actually pretty irrelevant—the mystery takes a back seat to the overall atmosphere..
Chase’s more slapstick-oriented take on the character might have been more enjoyable for many fans, but I found myself enjoying this more understated version of Fletch. There are small but playful touches, like wearing Lakers gear in Boston. It might not really have any reason to confess, but on that modest level, the movie qualifies as a not-so-guilty pleasure.