Jon Hamm hasn’t found many roles as good as his breakthrough “Mad Men” part, and “Confess, Fletch” doesn’t come close. Yet this refreshed version of the smart-alecky character Chevy Chase played in the 1980s has a certain breezy charm, not worthy of rushing to a theater but hardly a waste of one’s digital-viewing time. Working from Gregory Mcdonald’s books, as adapted by director Greg Mottola (“Adventureland”) and co-writer Zev Borow (“Keeping Up With the Joneses”), the film casts Hamm as the barely employed investigative reporter who goes by that strange nickname, drawn into a murder-mystery on behalf of his alluring Italian girlfriend, Angela Lorenza Izzo.
Currently, there are many questions surrounding the disappearance of Angela’s father. He is said to have owned priceless paintings, which are now missing. Fletch, a reporter for the Globe, travels to Boston and encounters an eccentric assortment of characters. The film’s supporting players provide much of the fun: John Slattery as his cranky, foul-mouthed former editor; Marcia Gay Harden as Angela’s breathy stepmother and Kyle MacLachlan as an art dealer with his own set of tics and quirks. Who did what is actually pretty irrelevant, with the mystery – which quickly turns Fletch into a suspect in the eyes of irritated cops (Roy Wood Jr., Ayden Mayeri), hence the title – taking a back seat to the overall atmosphere.
Fletch doesn’t have a lot of heft, but it serves as a star vehicle that distinguishes Chase’s character from his turn as the more slapstick-oriented Fletch. The film also contains small but playful touches; for example, Chase wears Los Angeles Lakers gear in Boston. Fletch might not really have any reason to confess, but on that modest level, the movie qualifies as a not-so-guilty pleasure.