Reihan Salam says Fletch was bad — really — bad because it’s too liberal:
As a movie, Fletch is all but unwatchably bad. But as a cultural artifact, it is invaluable. Reagan had just been re-elected by a landslide when the film hit theaters in 1985, and Fletch reflects, in a strange and roundabout way, an era of wrenching liberal despair. While the enlightened bourgeoisie and their scruffy spawn were no longer running the country, they could at least laugh along with Chevy Chase as he poked fun at Reagan’s America—the nouveau riche, the pig-headed cops, the Mormons.
Me: Reihan may — or may not — be right in a film class sort of way about what Fletch represented culturally or politically. But, the simple fact is, Fletch was a funny movie. I never thought it was as good as some other movie-quoting-male classics like Animal House, Caddyshack or the first half of Stripes (which, it seems to me, is open to a similar indictment as Reihan’s critique of Fletch if one were inclined to make it). But Fletch is — statistically speaking — one of those increasingly very rare things: A funny Chevy Chase movie. It may be that Reihan doesn’t like Chevy Chase at all — a perfectly defensible position — but for some of us, Fletch is a reminder that, yes, Chase was once fun to watch.