Back in the Day: “Her Alibi” (Feb. 1989)
Back in the Day is a new feature where we take a look back at what came out this week, twenty five years ago.
Few stars in the ‘80’s were bigger than Tom Selleck. Few models in the ‘80’s were hotter than Paulina Porizkova. He had been Magnum P.I. since forever, and every woman dreamed about him. She was a two-time Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition covergirl, a magazine with which every guy took too long in the bathroom. Must have seemed like a no-brainer to put them in a movie together. Yup. “No brains” is one way to describe it.
In Her Alibi, Phil Blackwood (Selleck) writes bad, but successful, detective novels. While suffering a bout with writer’s block, Blackwood spends a little time around the local courthouse in hopes of finding an interesting case that could become the guts of his next book. That’s when he sees Nina (Porizkova), who is accused of murdering her boyfriend with a pair of scissors. She is in need of an alibi, a witness who will say she was somewhere else at the time of the murder. He needs a “spark,” or perhaps he’s got a spark in his pants, and is willing to testify in her defense. How could that idea possibly fail?
It didn’t fail. I mean, I didn’t just fail. Just because one is a movie star does not mean one is also an actor. Selleck never actually “acted” a day in his life because he didn’t have to. Television is a shallow enough medium that producers were well aware of the ratings Selleck would bring by just combing his mustache, standing in tight jeans next to his red Ferrari, and smiling. But the big screen is the big leagues, and Selleck proved he had nothing more than minor league balls.
Porizkova was the “it” girl with the hot body, stunning face, million-dollar smile. The only problem was that her smile had to occasionally speak, and speaking is a big part of acting. She delivered her lines as smoothly as a one-legged paperboy.
Selleck has to pass himself off as her legitimate boyfriend and invites her to move into his home. As time goes on, he notices little things that cause him to wonder if maybe she is not as innocent as she claims to be. She has an affinity for sharp objects. These sharp objects get closer and closer to him until he’s actually punctured.
Prior to Her Alibi, writer Charlie Peters was best known for another sad film called Blame it on Rio, which starred Michelle Johnson, a Penthouse model who was about as bad an actress as has ever had C-cups. Opposite her, in both acting ability and chest size, was a little-known, former soap opera star named Demi Moore.
I’ll have to accept that director Bruce Beresford – twice nominated for Oscars – was doing his best to make an omelet from broken, rotten eggs because his next project had significantly greater success: Driving Miss Daisy. As for Her Alibi, it turned out to be exactly that but for Moore, who has had more film success than anyone else in front of the camera on that project. As for me, I gotta make water.
The Good: Porizkova, but only in print
The Bad: Selleck on screen for more than 44 minutes
The Ugly: The chemistry between the two