Stranger Than Fiction [1999]

A group of best buddies prepare themselves to dispose of a cop's naked corpse that just happens to be resting on the floor of nice guy Mackenzie Astin's (Jared Roth) apartment. Accident? Murder? Something even more sinister? It hardly matters as the cover-up only leads to more dead bodies, driving trust-fund idiot Natasha Gregson Wagner (far too convincing as a blathering bubblehead) completely loony: she starts lining up future victims with the enthusiasm of an assassin in training. That's just the first act of this darkly comic tale of murder and manipulation among a group of double-crossing pals. It's an often-clever film in a far too familiar genre of twisty, cynical, self-conscious, Tarantino-inspired thrillers. Dina Meyer is delicious as an ambitious singer and ostensible group leader who knows more than she's letting on, and Todd Field is a simmering and suspicious member of the cover-up, the only genuinely unpredictable element of the film. It's hardly original, but director Eric Bross has some fun with the story and injects enough sly black humor to make the film intriguing and entertaining to the end. --Sean Axmaker

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