Flirting with Disaster (1996)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  12 April 1996 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 14,472 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 103 user | 49 critic | 16 from

A young man, his wife, and his incompetent case worker travel across country to find his birth parents.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Raymond Aibelli is a promising medical student ready to begin a prestigious summer internship. But Susan, his mother, is immobilized by a broken leg, and his father Tom, a travelling ... See full summary »

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Jeremy Davies, Alberta Watson, Elizabeth Newett
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts
Three Kings (1999)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, 4 soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but they discover people who desperately need their help.

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube
Soldiers Pay (2004)
Documentary | Short | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Filmmakers Tricia Regan, David O. Russell and Juan Carlos Zaldivar interview dozens of people about the 2004 Iraq war, including soldiers, journalists, politicians, psycholgists, and even a... See full summary »

Directors: Tricia Regan, David O. Russell, and 1 more credit »
Stars: David Dreier, Matt Novak
Election (1999)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein
Zero Effect (1998)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The world's greatest detective Daryl Zero aided by his associate Steve Arlo investigates a complex and mysterious case of blackmail and missing keys for shady tycoon Gregory Stark who is less than forthcoming about what is really happening!

Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller, Ryan O'Neal
Swingers (1996)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

Director: Doug Liman
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Heather Graham, Jon Favreau
To Die For (1995)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Suzanne Stone is an aspiring TV personality who will do anything to be in the spotlight, including enlisting three teenagers to kill her husband.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix
Greenberg (2010)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A man from Los Angeles, who moved to New York years ago, returns to L.A. to figure out his life while he house-sits for his brother. He soon sparks with his brother's assistant.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Frances Ha (2012)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Haunted by the patients he failed to save, an extremely burned-out Manhattan ambulance paramedic fights to maintain his sanity over three fraught and turbulent nights.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Bette Davis, William Hickey, Salvatore Rodriguez


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lonnie Schlichting
Jane (as Beth Ostrosky)
Sandra (as Cynthia Lamontagne)
Fritz Boudreau
John Ford Noonan ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Have you flirted yet?



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

12 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amori e disastri  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)


$14,891,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


At the airport when boarding the plane at 46 minutes in, the baby switches to a completely different baby. In the next shot they are on the plane and the baby has switched back. See more »


Agent Paul: You do know it is a federal offense to destroy a United States Post Office?
See more »


Referenced in Yes, Dear: Flirtin' with Disaster (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Howard Hawks on acid!
1 October 2007 | by (usa) – See all my reviews

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.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I don't get the high rating juergen_k
Favorite Quote horrorbusiness83
one of the best comedies of all time newgirl12
Tea Leoni pregnant? jsteins007
Is that Gwyneth Paltrow at the beginning? ido50
Armpit Licking? Tanley
Discuss Flirting with Disaster (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: