6.8/10
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105 user 50 critic

Flirting with Disaster (1996)

R | | Comedy | 12 April 1996 (USA)
A young man, his wife, and his incompetent case worker travel across country to find his birth parents.

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1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jane (as Beth Ostrosky)
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Sandra (as Cynthia Lamontagne)
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John Ford Noonan ...
Mitch
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Storyline

Mel Coplin departs on a mission of discovery dragging his wife and 4 month old son behind. He and wife, Nancy, won't agree on a name for their son until adopted Mel gets in touch with his roots. He assures her that once he knows who he really is, the right name for their boy will be a snap. Enlisting the aid of student-psychologist and part-time adoption agent, Tina Kalb, they embark on a journey across the United States to find Mel's "birth" mother. "The best part," Mel tells Nancy, "is it's all free." Tina is finishing her dissertation and will film the happy reunion of mother and child as part of her research. For this privilege, she's footing the bill. His adoptive parents are left behind feeling abandoned by an ungrateful son. Clerical errors, mistaken identities, Nancy's misplaced high school friend and his gay lover, and a super-charged libido here and there are thrown into the mix along the way until -- at last -- Mel's real parents, the Schlictings (mispronounced as "... Written by MARK FLEETWOOD <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Have you flirted yet?

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality and a comic drug scene | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

12 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amori e disastri  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,891,000
See more on IMDbPro »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Lily Tomlin, Ben Stiller and David O. Russell did not get along and had many heated arguments. See more »

Goofs

Tony calls Paul "Phil" when they are in the restaurant, just as Paul gets up to leave. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Coplin: This woman strikes me as being very dangerous.
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Connections

Referenced in Wanderlust (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

3 Days
Written by Robert Allen
Performed by Thermadore
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User Reviews

 
Howard Hawks on acid!

David O. Russell's 1996 flick "Flirting with Disaster" might not leave the audience feeling dirty afterward like his prior work "Spanking the Monkey", but what it lacks in controversy it makes up for in over the top wackiness. This is modern-day dark edged screwball comedy that would like make master filmmaker Howard Hawks ("His Girl Friday", "Bringing Up Baby") proud.

Russell's film weaves the ludicrous story of a thirty year old, first time father who can't overcome the challenges of not knowing his birth parents enough to see his wife's sexual advances or even give his kid a name. Who else could we expect to see in a role so heavily stacked with Murphy's Law possibilities than that consummate lovable loser Ben Stiller? Before we know it he, his wife, and an incompetent adoption case worker set out to meet his birth parents.

What follows is the full range of comedic possibilities from the standard road trip to off-the-wall characterizations, mistaken identity, love triangles, attempted murder, and armpit fetishism. Somehow it all flows so brilliantly that all of the craziness becomes quite plausible in what turns out to be a film that is a bit charming and damn funny.


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