Beep beep, Ritchie. Teetering on the brink of comic excess, Fletch, the 1985 film to which this is the follow-up, kept its balance only by relying on the steadying influence of the serious mystery at its core. That mystery came from Gregory Mcdonald, author of the Fletch books, the first of which served as the basis for the movie. Fletch Lives, written by Leon Capetanos, is based not on any of Mcconald's eight literary sequels, but rather on a fundamental misreading of the success of the original. So here Ritchie and Capetanos give us a decidedly dull mystery and smother it with a lot of dumb and unfunny humor in a movie that takes nothing seriously (an early joke has to do with a dead woman in Fletch's bed; hilarious). For what it's worth, this one finds Fletch in Louisiana, uncovering a plot to separate him from his inheritance -- his late aunt's dilapidated mansion -- with suspects like the local police and the ministry of a neighboring televangelist, played by R. Lee Ermey. Chevy Chase seems to recognize the futility of it all, playing Fletch as even more aloof than in the first film. Also with Hal Holbrook, Julianne Phillips, and Cleavon Little.
"[T]he ultimate comedy of condescension, a movie with a hero whose every other line of dialogue is a snide wisecrack directed at a fool." - Chris Willman, The Los Angeles Times, March 17, 1989
"Mr. Chase is such an agreeably low-pressure comedian that a movie has to be very inept to be as irritating as 'Fletch Lives.'" - Vincent Canby, The New York Times, March 17, 1989