Goodbye Lover

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Goodbye Lover

Goodbye Lover is a pretty terrible film, perhaps intentionally. Don Johnson plays a successful ad man who's having an affair with a very Melanie Griffith-like Patricia Arquette, who's married to his brother, Dermot Mulroney. In one of Goodbye Lover's many overt film-noir references, it turns out that Johnson's insurance policy has a double-indemnity clause in it, and it's only a matter of time before the "accidental" deaths start piling up. Trying to make sense of everything—including a serial killer on the loose—is deeply cynical detective Ellen DeGeneres and her naïve, useless Mormon partner. Sort of a smug Wild Things for yuppies, this double-cross-filled film doesn't even try to make sense. The groan-inducingly illogical plot, unlikely motives, and self-conscious execution are responsible for a good deal of Goodbye Lover's stupid fun, but the film stays just that: stupid. Director Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Scarlet Letter) mines the noir back catalog for all sorts of silly camera shots, and the hammy, tongue-in-cheek acting is so awful that the characters never emerge from behind the caricatures. Maybe Joffé figured that the movie's fleeting moments of parody would make up for its lack of suspense, thrills, or wit, but its wink-wink style doesn't excuse its many inadequacies. Goodbye Lover might aspire to be so bad it's good, but more often than not, it's just bad.

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