A darkly comic whodunit about greed, deceit, and romantic deception, Goodbye Lover stars Patricia Arquette as Sandra, a seemingly moral and obsessively cheerful woman who sells real estate and is fascinated by the movie The Sound Of Music. But Sandra has a secret; while she's married to Jake (Dermot Mulroney), an ad executive who is having problems with both his career and his drinking, she's having an affair with his brother, Ben (Don Johnson), a successful public relations man. Ben, on the other hand, is already dallying with Peggy (Mary-Louise Parker), a woman on his staff who is beautiful but insecure, though she has a darker side few people know about. When Ben decides to break it off with Sandra so he can pursue his relationship with Peggy, Sandra is furious, and, knowing Jake would be just as angry, tells him about their affair. A vengeful Jake confronts Ben, which leads to a knock-down, drag-out fight -- and Ben's death, as he falls from a window. Ben leaves behind a hefty insurance settlement, and soon the surviving characters are scrambling over the money. Enter Police Detective Rita Pompano (Ellen DeGeneres), who has seen too much in her time on the force to not develop a deep cynicism about the people she protects -- or to not be tempted to get in on the payday herself. Goodbye Lover was directed by Roland Joffé, in something of a departure from his best-known work in high-minded dramas such as The Killing Fields and The Mission.
by Mark Deming synopsis