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Fletch Lives Review

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Fletch inherits his aunt's mansion in Louisiana and goes down South to claim it, ending up embroiled in dodgy Southern goings-on.

★★★★

In this sequel to the hugely successful 1985 original Fletch, Chevy Chase returns as the irrepressible investigative reporter I. M. Fletcher. This time he swaps his cluttered apartment, his beloved basketball and the smog of LA for the swamps of Louisiana where he has inherited his aunt's plantation.

On the flight down from Los Angeles, Fletch dreams of his new life, lording over his editor and his ex-wife's lawyer who are to be reincarnated as his faithful servants. It's a wonderful set piece, a musical parody of Disney's Song Of The South, complete with thousands of extras and brilliantly integrated cartoon characters. Predictably, the crumbling mansion awaiting him is just a taste of the stereotyped Southern discomfort in store.

After the executor of his Aunt's estate is murdered while they sleep after a spot of rumpo, Fletch is typically embroiled in a gloriously implausible plot exposing him to moronic cops, hapless Ku Klux Klansmen, assorted rednecks and the inevitable costume ball. All provide opportunities for Fletch's consistently funny wisecracks, smooth-talking and his unnecessarily elaborate disguises, ranging from a faith healer to a Harley-Davidson owning longhair.

The main suspect is an uncomfortably real money-grabbing TV evangelist who wants to buy Fletch's land to expand his theme park, complete with a "Jump For Jesus" trampoline area and a Noah's Ark ride with regular floods. Indeed, TV evangelism is bitingly satirised throughout, with many references to then-current revelations about the private lives of real American ministers. Dragged on to the stage during a live TV gospel show, Fletch is asked whether is he has sinned. He tells his host that he has but he didn't have any polaroids taken.

The plot, which eventually includes environmental issues, is completed by the love interest provided in the shape of Becky (Phillips, formerly known as Mrs. Springsteen), whose accent is as variable as Fletch's appearance throughout the film.

Funny and inventive vehicke for Chevy Chase's hapless and genuinely funny comic creation.