Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Patricia Arquette, Dermot Mulroney, Mary-Louise Parker, Ellen DeGeneres, Ray McKinnon, Alex Rocco, Don Johnson, Andre Gregory, John Neville, JoNell Kennedy
Written by: Ron Peer, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, based on a story by Ron Peer
Directed by: Roland Joffé
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, language and violence
Running Time: 102
Date: 04/30/1998
IMDB

Goodbye Lover (1998)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

No Good at 'Goodbyes'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Two of our local Bay Area celebrities, Don Johnson and Patricia Arquette, star in Goodbye Lover, a comic crime movie with a bit of sex thrown in. Unfortunately, the mix doesn't mesh, as most of the major characters are completely bankrupt of morals, consistency, humor, or anything that might allow us to connect with them. The plot just rolls along, most of it pretty well mapped out in advance.

Johnson is a high-powered executive in a PR firm. His brother, played by Dermot Mulroney, is a co-worker, as is Mary-Louse Parker. Arquette is sleeping with Johnson and is married to Mulroney. Actually, just about everyone is sleeping with everyone else and plotting to kill everyone else. The only breath of fresh air in the movie is Ellen DeGeneres as a cynical detective who figures everything out and does so while eating junk food and snapping off a collection of snide remarks. Arquette, too, is a standout as the sexy Sandra, dressed in what looks like leftover costumes from Andrew Blade porno flicks. Vincent Gallo (Buffalo 66) shows up in a small creepy role, and Andre Gregory (My Dinner with Andre) pops up as a priest.

Goodbye Lover is written by a committee of four: Ron Peer, Joel Cohen (not Joel Coen of Fargo), Alec Roodman, and Chris Daniel. It's directed by Roland Joffe, who has made a career out of somber, political movies like The Killing Fields (1984), The Mission (1986), and City of Joy (1992). It's easy to see how he wouldn't have a handle on material like this. It feels like this script was developed ten years ago and has just run out of steam waiting to be made as superior thrillers passed it by.

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