Ben Oliver

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Lies & Alibis

The only real alibi is death.
18 January 2015

Steve Coogan runs a business that deals in providing alibis for cheating spouses, lying and setting up a front to fend off prying eyes whilst the deed is done. On one such job a client kills his mistress and capers begin because he swapped names with said client.

The details behind the film betray its quality; it was released straight to DVD under a new title (I’ve gone for the new one, it was originally called The Alibi but from what I can tell it was never released as this). The studio clearly had little faith in the production and they were right to be suspicious; it’s an insubstantial, un-funny mess of a film.

Coogan isn’t the man for the job. He would be good if the script were funny at all, but it isn’t and instead tries to turn him into a West Wing-style business busybody; he’s almost laughably bad when he’s barking out commands to his staff in the office. There are a few lines where he makes the jokes work, but those completely break the character he’s playing.

The plot is a huge sprawl of one-dimensional characters, all having a small part to play, none of them of any interest. There are twists and turns all over the place but without a central story in place they just feel boring and forced.

Lies and Alibis seems solely focused on being ‘clever’ and wowing the audience, and in doing so forgets the basic rules of what make a film. It’s like an extended episode of the BBC’s Hustle except with Steve Coogan in America.