Alien Autopsy (2006)
“What Are You Looking At?”
Alien Autopsy (2006)
Director: Jonny Campbell
Cast: Declan Donnelly, Anthony McPartlin, Bill Pullman
Synopsis: In the 1990s two men produce a fake video that purports to be footage of an alien autopsy.
Having successfully conquered the world of British light entertainment – over which, nine years later, they continue to reign supreme – the diddy duo of Ant and Dec made a not-so-successful attempt to branch into the world of movies in 2006 with Alien Autopsy, a comedy based on the true-life attempt of a couple of con-men to fool the world into believing they had unearthed footage of the titular operation filmed at Roswell in 1947. The fact that the real-life duo of Ray Santilli and Gary Shoefield received credits as Executive Producers on the film goes some way to explaining why a couple of shiftless chancers are given such a sympathetic make-over. According to the movie, these boys weren’t fraudsters or hoaxers – they were simply a pair of lovable lads who got swept up in a media whirlwind which might have been of their own making, but over which they quickly lost control.
Declan Donnelly (he’s the small, impish-looking one who always stands on the right) plays the small, impish Ray Santilli, who is offered supposedly authentic footage of an alien autopsy carried out by military surgeons back in 1947, while on a purchasing trip to the States to buy some original footage of Elvis Presley. Naturally, Santilli jumps at the opportunity, but is crestfallen when he finds upon his arrival home that the film has deteriorated beyond repair since the can was opened after fifty years in storage. He isn’t the type to be discourage by trivial setbacks, though, and recruits Shoefield (Anthony McPartlin – the small one with the big forehead who always stands on the left) and various friends and family members to help him film a recreation of the original film. But because he borrowed the £30,000 necessary to buy the original film from local gangster – and nutcase – Laszlo Voros (Gotz Otto – Downfall, Iron Sky), Santilli has to sell the film to the media in order to get the money to pay him back. That’s when things begin to snowball…
Although Alien Autopsy was slated by the critics and disappointed at the box office, it’s not as terrible as you might expect. This is largely thanks to Ant and Dec, who are as likable here as they are on their TV shows – in fact, they effectively play their TV personas. But likability will only get you so far, and there aren’t anywhere near enough big laughs in Will Davies’ rather ordinary screenplay. In fact, if it wasn’t for the presence of Ant & Dec it’s likely that Alien Autopsy would be largely forgotten today. As it is, it remains in the public memory only as a rare misstep in the careers of a duo who usually seem incapable of putting a foot wrong.
(Reviewed 9th September 2015)