Tom Selleck is Phil Blackwood, a best-selling mystery author who is suffering from writer’s block. Paulina Porizkova in Nina, a beautiful Romanian who has been accused of murder. When Phil sees Nina being arraigned in court, it is love at first sight. He provides her with a false alibi and invites her to stay with him while he writes a book based on her case. At first, Phil thinks that she is innocent but he soon has his doubts, especially after Nina shows off her skills as a knife thrower.
1989 was a strange year for Australian director Bruce Beresford. On the one hand, he directed Driving Miss Daisy, which went on to win the Oscar for the best picture. On the other hand, he also directed Her Alibi, a disjointed comedy that feels like an extended episode of Magnum P.I. (Even Sellecks’ narration feels like a throwback to his star-making role. But if Phil is a best-selling writer, why does his narration sound so clunky and clichéd?) Her Alibi is a predictable film, not really bad but just very bland. It tries to duplicate the style of a classic screwball comedy but it lacks the bite necessary to make much of an impression. On the plus side, the great William Daniels was given a few good lines as Phil’s caustic agent and Paulina Porizkova was absolutely beautiful. The scene where Nina gives Phil a haircut almost makes the movie worth it.
One final note: When watching Her Alibi, be sure to pay attention to the scene where Phil holds up his latest novel. The book is so thin that it looks like it is only 20 pages long, at the most.