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Film / Her Alibi

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A 1989 romantic comedy film starring Tom Selleck as Phillip Blackwood, a writer of detective novels. After a 4-year bout of writer's block, Blackwood is desperately seeking new material at the local courtrooms. There he encounters Nina (Paulina Porizkova), an enchanting young woman accused of murder. Inspired by her and believing her to be innocent, he offers to provide her with an alibi.

As he spends time with her, however, he's forced to question if she truly is innocent and if he may be next on her list.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Ace: How Blackwood wrote Swift to be.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents / Dysfunctional Family: Blackwood's.
  • Annoying Arrows: Blackwood is shot in the ass by Nina. Although treated more seriously than some fiction, it's more of an Amusing Injury than anything and he's fully recovered the next day.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Done in writing form.
    "Swift's mastery of Tai Kwon Do, Akido, boxing, and macreme had him in good stead."
  • Cowboy Cop: Frank Polito.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Blackwood.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Of some pulp fiction heroes.
  • Defector from Commie Land: Nina and her family.
  • Development Hell (In-Universe): Blackwood's novel at movie open.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Nina.
    Blackwood: I though you said you drove in Romania!?
    Nina: This is how we drive in Romania!
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Consuela, Blackwood's occasional maid.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Blackwood not only catches the important part of Nina's phone call, but chooses to look up the one word that helps him crack the mystery, "funeral".
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Blackwood's fictional detective Peter Swift.
  • I Read It for the Articles: The Securitate agent, when caught photographing Blackwood's Playboys, says "Good interview!" to cover.
  • Innocent Innuendo: When shot in the ass by a bow while talking to Detective Polito, who mistakes his moans and cries "not to touch the shaft" as, shall we say, passion.
  • The Klutz: Blackwood.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The end shows Phillip's book is the name of the movie, and a major motion picture starring the film's actors.
  • Mistaken for Murderer
  • Monster Clown: Blackwood's nightmare about Nina.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Blackwood's grasp of Romanian is a bit tenuous.
    Nina: You just said your mother is an octopus.
    • Nina has a couple of issues with English, like when she describes a man who was punished by being hanged upside down by his tentacles.
  • Parody Sue
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Blackwood accuses a rival author of this. His editor also advises he do this to get an ending rather than continue the risky business with Nina.
  • Prison Rape: One of the Romanian agents tries to threaten Nina this way in the beginning, saying he's heard that "sex with prison guards" is enjoyable. (In his own language, so the police don't understand.) She replies by slapping him.
  • Secret Police: The Securitate, communist Romania's dreaded agency, who set Nina up for murder in the US to force her into returning home.
  • Serious Business: The reason the Romanian government is after Nina is because her family is a group of circus performers; they don't want one of the country's best sources of entertainment to defect.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Nina throws a knife with perfect accuracy and impales a giant insect. This is the audience's (and Blackwood's) first hint that she may not be innocent. And revisited at the end.
  • Title Drop: When Phil finally completes his new book, the title is Her Alibi.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: A variation. Blackwood's novel as inspired by the events is voiced over the action.