29 April 2006 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: The Alibi
A dream service for those adulterous men and women out there. A service which takes your calls, handles all potentially tense situations of private eyes and that suspecting spouse, essentially taking care of you on the side while you bang. Sounds good? I think so too, at least in a business sense.
Ray Elliot (Steve Coogan) runs such a service. It's a money spinner, based on statistics that one in 4 men stray, and one in 10 women cheat. He advertises his risk management career through word of mouth, and takes pride in his job in bailing clients out of seemingly explosive marital situations. The pre-requisites? A calm cool mind that can spin out stories and tell them with a straight face.
Lola Davis (the hot Rebecca Romijn) is his new management recruit, and without much orientation, plunges into the job head on. Initially you might think the movie will develop on the above company politics scenario, and have the two leads get involved with each other romantically. But no, before you can get to see the next fling, the movie heads on to classic crime noir territory.
On his last field job, Ray's client accidentally kills his mistress in a bout of S&M, and it's up to Ray to clear the mess up, violating one of his principles that his company doesn't provide alibis for crime. However his reputation and integrity is on the line, and he has no choice but to cover it all up.
And you'll probably wince at the amount of challenges Ray goes through in having this done, and having a price put out on his head. It's essentially one heck of a caper, as we witness how Ray Elliot schemes and plot to get his rear out of situations that's seemingly impossible, and incredibly lucky to get out of. It's full of crossings and double-crossings, and while you might be lost at certain plot points, just hang in there as all will converge for the finale, leaving you with a smirk, quite satisfied with the outcome.
What's fun in this movie is the huge ensemble cast that play the many characters on screen. Another X-Men franchise regular, James Marsden (Cyclops) is here as the inept himbo Wendell Hatch, Ray Elliot's last client, and we have a myriad of characters like hit men, gangsters, cops, an unsatisfied wife, etc from a cast of Selma Blair, James Brolin, Sam Elliot, Jaime King, John Leguizamo, Deborah Kara Unger, and the likes.
One thing's for sure, having a huge network of those whom you have deposited emotional or material help with, certainly will help bucket-loads when the time comes. If you're up for a caper, then I'd recommend The Alibi, for its fun.