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Goodbye Lover Reviews

This self-conscious erotic thriller was made before the similarly pulpy WILD THINGS, but took a full two years to straggle into theaters: Frankly, it has "video rental" written all over it. The twisty, turny plot revolves around four avaricious Angelenos: Sharp-dressed advertising whiz Ben Dunmore (Don Johnson) is vigorously breaking the commandment that deals with coveting your brother's wife. Scrumptious adulteress Sandra (Patricia Arquette) is hooked on nourishing her inner predator and the soundtrack to The Sound of Music; her husband Jake (Dermot Mulroney), a handsome souse, doesn't know his marriage is on the rocks and appears not to realize that his liquored-up rants are about to cost him his job at Ben's firm as well. And then there's little miss prissy Peggy (Mary-Louise Parker), a junior ad exec with a world-class crush on Ben: No-one is exactly what he or she seems, and all have their eyes firmly on the money, honey. When one of the quartet is murdered, foul-mouthed detective Rita Pompano (Ellen DeGeneres) and her pious partner Nathaniel Rollins (Ray McKinnon) are tossed into the volatile mix. In her blonde Louise Brooks bob and sex-worker Barbie outfits, Arquette appears to be having a rip-roaring good time, and DeGeneres adds some scenery chewing snap to the proceedings. But it's all directed (and perhaps written — it's hard to tell) with a eye to coarse, tongue in cheek caricature that's an uncomfortable fit with the material and undermines the lowbrow fun. We'll take our sleaze straight up, thank you, hold the satirical digs at PR-driven image-making, two-faced piety and the "just do it" mantra of self-empowerment gurus.