Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Steve Coogan, Rebecca Romijn, Deborah Kara Unger, Henry Rollins, Selma Blair, Sam Elliott, James Brolin, John Leguizamo, James Marsden, Jaime King, Debi Mazar, Terry Crews, Jerry O'Connell, Jon Polito
Written by: Noah Hawley
Directed by: Matt Checkowski, Kurt Mattila
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual content
Running Time: 90
Date: 01/12/2006
IMDB

Lies & Alibis (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Cheat Street

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This straight-to-video comedy is better than most theatrical comedies I've seen lately. It begins by setting up the "extraordinary occupation" and then launches into the typical "extraordinary situation," even though the first one is usually enough. Steve Coogan plays Ray Elliot, the proprietor of a company that provides first-class alibis for cheating spouses (mainly men, but also women, the film points out). He hires the crafty Lola (Rebecca Romijn) to join his team, just before he agrees to help out an old client's son by swapping identities for the weekend. The engaged-to-be-married son (James Marsden) flits off to cheat with his girlfriend (Jaime King) and, after an erotic asphyxiation accident, Ray finds himself the prime suspect in a murder story. Additionally, the girl's actual boyfriend (John Leguizamo) enters the picture, as does a bounty hunter (Sam Elliott) and several other colorful characters. Can Ray trust Lola to help him set up a complex sting that will solve all his problems in one fell swoop? You'll have to find out for yourself. Coogan (Tristram Shandy) seems slightly uncomfortable playing this type of confident character; he's more at home playing slightly neurotic twits. But Romijn (Femme Fatale, X2) lends her effortlessly natural screen charm to her role, oozing organic intelligence, wit and beauty all at once. Co-directors Matt Checkowski and Kurt Mattila effectively balance the rest of their cast, allowing each member to shine without any overplaying and without wasting anyone. Selma Blair, for example, uses her unique brand of awkward sexiness to perfection. The Mousetrap-like plot grew a little too tangled for me, but Lies & Alibis is still a lot of fun.

DVD Details: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's DVD comes with optional subtitles and a bunch of trailers, mainly for other straight-to-video titles. The original title was simply The Alibi.

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