If you were in junior high or high school when Fletch came out, the movie holds enormous nostalgia value, particularly if you also happened to live in L.A. at the time (like me). Fletch revealed the L.A. that its denizens knew well -- the grungy beaches, the sun-cracked streets, the drab apartment buildings. Fletch's Lakers fetish, and the offices of the Los Angeles Times-like newspaper where he worked completed the L.A. milieu that audiences here immediately hooked into. What's more, we got Chevy Chase at his wise-ass best, in a crime caper tailored to the Beverly Hills Cop crowd (of which I was an admiring member), and thrumming with Harold Faltermeyer on the soundtrack. Sure, Faltermeyer's synthesizers sound supremely cheesy today, but this was the '80s, man. And nothing speaks the '80s like Faltermeyer's Casio keyboards, tuneful yet pulsing with that moneyed urban vibe; I think of it as the safe, consumer-friendly edge of high '80s decadence.
On first viewing (the movie's opening weekend), I admit I didn't get all of Fletch's jokes, but found myself pleasantly amused. Twenty-two years later, I get all the jokes, but I remain only pleasantly amused, nothing more, nothing less. This is a comfort movie -- smart and sassy enough to make good company, but a notch short of brilliant.
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