Movie Report: Her Alibi (1989)

Book coverThis film comes from the 1980s, when Tom Selleck was trying to make the leap to being the leading man in pictures instead of just being Magnum, P.I.. It ultimately didn’t work, though, as he had a couple of lead roles in films including this one and, what, Runaway? (Research indicates he also headlined Lassiter, An Innocent Man, and Quigly Down Under, which I enjoyed, and later Mr. Baseball which I saw in the theater in college.) He never really made that transition and kept busy in television.

In this book, Magnum gets to play the Robin Masters character: A successful author with bestsellers to his credit, but who’s on a bit of a stale streak. He goes to watch a trial for inspiration, meeting up with some other authors who do the same, where he sees Paulina Porizkova getting arraigned for murder. Convinced that she could not be a murderer, he acts as her alibi, claiming that they were having an affair (which meant something a little different sometimes in the 1980s, as neither character is married). So they go away to his home in Connecticut while the Romanian secret police are out to capture or kill Porizkova’s character.

Much of the film is in Selleck’s character writing a novel based on their ongoing misadventures–the difference between what’s actually happening and how the author portrays it in the book providing much of the humor of the film along with doubts as to whether the young lady is an actual murderer–accidents and incidents that could have innocent explanations might actually be murder attempts! The humor is a little thin, though, and it fails to reach amusing–it holds at the level of I see what you’re doing there.

Well, it’s an okay film; it turns out that she’s not a secret agent, but part of a circus family looking to defect. The climax happens at a circus, and everyone lives happily ever after presumably.

I mean, I like Selleck, but I have to wonder why he did not make the move to films successfully. Too much connective charisma perhaps? Not enough detachment that the distant movie screen requires? I don’t know.

Oh, and no Paulina Porizkova pictures for you. If you want to see her without any clothes on, you’ll have to read the New York Post like the rest of us. Uh, probably NSFW, but it is an article in the New York Post.

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