I seem to be getting back into watching movies again. At least from my futon.
This movie is based on the second novel in Gregory McDonald's series involving the unique protagonist Irwin M. Fletcher. (I still have the $1.75 paperback from 1976!) Jon Hamm plays Fletch, and that's an excellent casting choice.
Fletch arrives in Boston, where he's arranged to stay at the apartment of Owen Tasserly. Where he discovers the body of Laurel Goodwin, who's been bonked on the head with a sturdy wine bottle. He dutifully calls in the Boston police, and (naturally enough) finds himself under suspicion for the crime. The prime investigator is Inspector Morris Monroe, an unconventional African-American detective.
As it happens, Fletch is in Boston to track down paintings stolen from the estate of Count Clementi Arbogastes de Grassi, who has also been apparently kidnapped. And his kidnappers demand one of the paintings, a Picasso, as ransom. Since the family no longer has that painting, they figure the Count is a dead duck.
There are a number of differences between the book and the movie. For one thing, the murder victim is naked in the book, fully clothed here. And, in the book, the investigation is headed by the very Irish Inspector Flynn. (Who eventually got his own book.)
But the moviemakers got the spirit of the book pretty much exactly right. Acting is first-rate.
Fun fact: This movie has three award nominations, but one of them is "Most Egregious Age Difference Between the Leading Man and the Love Interest" from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. (A mere 17-year difference between Jon Hamm and Lorenza Izzo.) And it lost to Crimes of the Future (Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux: 27 years).
For the record, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists awarded "Most Daring Performance" to Emma Thompson for the movie Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. The age difference between Emma and her boy toy (Daryl McCormack) in this movie is 33 years.