Goodbye Lover [1998]

Overlooked and underrated, Goodbye Lover is a tawdry, tasty film noir with a soft spot for its scheming antiheroine. With her platinum Lulu bob, a killer wardrobe, and a Sound of Music fetish that inspires her to "climb every mountain" of bad-girl ambition, Patricia Arquette is perfectly cast as Sandra, the sweet but lethal wife of Jake (Dermot Mulroney), who works in a top-drawer ad agency with his brother Ben (Don Johnson). Weary stud Ben falls prey to simultaneous affairs with Sandra and his devoted secretary (Mary-Louise Parker), and the cynical Detective Pompano (Ellen DeGeneres) unravels the murder-for-insurance plot while her clueless Mormon partner (Ray McKinnon) tries to keep pace. Combining mordant humor and rampant depravity, this deliciously dark comedy starts fast and never lets up, liberating director Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields) from the sobriety of his previous work. The entire cast is great, but it's DeGeneres who makes this a recommended sleeper. --Jeff Shannon

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