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  If you shoot me... you're liable to lose a lot of those humanitarian awards.

1985 comedy-mystery film starring Chevy Chase, (loosely) based on the novel by Gregory Mcdonald.

Irwin M. Fletcher (Chevy Chase), better known as 'Fletch', writes a column for a Los Angeles newspaper under the byline 'Jane Doe'. He's working undercover at a local beach where a lot of hard drug-trafficking is taking place when he is suddenly cornered by Alan Stanwyck (Tim Matheson) who, assuming him to be one of the many junkies floating around the beach, makes him a strange offer; claiming he has incurable cancer and wanting to both avoid suffering for himself and his family and allow them to claim life insurance, he offers Fletch a considerable sum of money to murder him a week from that date. Intrigued, Fletch begins to investigate Stanwyck's claims, discovering that things may be tied in with the story he is investigating at the beach, and that a sinister police chief (Joe Don Baker) may also be involved...

Probably Chevy Chase's most well-known role after Clark Griswold, and something of a cult hit. Resulted in a sequel, Fletch Lives, which took Fletch to The Deep South where he investigated intrigue around his family estate.

Has nothing to do with the British series Porridge.

Tropes used in Fletch include:
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. In the novels, Fletch was a handsome, young, blond, extremely muscular man who could bed any woman he wanted. In the movies, he was played by a forty-something Chevy Chase.
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • American Gothic Couple: Stanwyck's parents, in essence if not in image.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Fletch is quite fond of these. He's even capable of pulling them off by doing nothing but talking nonsense.
  • Character Name Alias: Fletch uses several of them, often real people. Not everyone catches on.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Or Chekhov's Lighter, really.
  • Creepy Physical: Fletch tries to bargain his way out of a rectal exam.
  • Disneyesque: A dream sequence in the sequel.
  • Darker and Edgier: Fletch goes from comical to darkly serious as the novels progress.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fletch. And how.
    • For one example, the movie contains possibly the driest ever reading of the line "Thank God. The police."
  • Development Hell: A prequel entitled Fletch Won has been stuck in limbo for about 15 years now. First it was going to be directed by Kevin Smith and star Jason Lee. Then it was passed to Bill Lawrence, with Zach Braff as Fletch. Now it's looking like it might be made by Steve Pink and star Zach Galifianakis. Time will tell if anyone ever gets around to actually filming this thing.
  • Dirty Cop: Chief of Police Karlin is behind the drug running on the beach, along with Stanwyck. Most of the other cops who appear are pretty corrupt as well.
  • Embarrassing First AND Middle Name: Fletch gets quite irate if you call him 'Irwin'.
  • Glove Snap: A physician does this before giving Fletch a rectal examination.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Fletch
  • I Have Many Names: Fletch
  • Ironic Echo: A visual example. In the first scene where Stanwyck approaches Fletch, Stanwyck is in a smart suit and Fletch in a scruffy Lakers shirt and jeans. In the last scene, they've essentially switched clothing -- Stanwyck because he's actually planning on killing Fletch, Fletch because he's long figured out that this is what he's planning on doing. And because it's actually Stanwyck's suit, which Fletch acquired prior to sleeping with Stanwyck's wife.
  • Karmic Death: Stanwyck is planning to shoot Fletch, having lured him there with the whole "I'm dying and want you to kill me for the insurance" thing. He ends up getting shot and killed by the Chief, who he was double-crossing.
  • Last-Name Basis: Hey, it's better than 'Irwin'.
  • Look Behind You!: Fletch pulls this on a dog, funnily enough.
  • Oh Crap: At the end when Fletch realizes that performing The Summation on Stanwyck's scheme won't actually stop Stanwyck from, well, going through with his scheme.

 Fletch: Whoops.

Gail Whoops? What do you mean, 'whoops'?! Don't say 'whoops'!

  • Only One Name: Fletch. When asked for his full name, he gives "Fletch F. Fletch."
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Some of Fletch's disguises are quite intricate. Others require no more than the investment of $0.45 in a set of novelty teeth. If that.
  • Polygamy: Stanwyck. This causes consternation, then revelation for Fletch when questioning Stanwyck's parents, as Fletch knew the woman was involved with Stanwyck, but not this much.
    • Lampshaded at the beginning, where Fletch remarks that going undercover as a junkie is strangely easy; "act like you don't give a crap, you fit right in."
  • Skeleton Key Card: How he breaks into his own apartment (via a window, no less) in a failed attempt to evade his ex-wife's lawyer.
  • What Could Have Been: This was initially developed as a vehicle for Kirk Douglas.
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