6.8/10
16,667
103 user 52 critic

Flirting with Disaster (1996)

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

Director:

David O. Russell
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Stiller ... Mel Coplin
Patricia Arquette ... Nancy Coplin
Téa Leoni ... Tina Kalb
Mary Tyler Moore ... Pearl Coplin
George Segal ... Ed Coplin
Alan Alda ... Richard Schlichting
Lily Tomlin ... Mary Schlichting
Richard Jenkins ... Paul Harmon
Josh Brolin ... Agent Tony Kent
Celia Weston ... Valerie Swaney
Glenn Fitzgerald ... Lonnie Schlichting
Beth Stern ... Jane (as Beth Ostrosky)
Cynthia LaMontagne ... Sandra (as Cynthia Lamontagne)
David Patrick Kelly ... Fritz Boudreau
John Ford Noonan 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amori e disastri See more »

Filming Locations:

Carefree, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,891,000, 31 December 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Patricia Arquette; and six Oscar nominees: Josh Brolin, Alan Alda, Richard Jenkins, George Segal, Mary Tyler Moore and Lily Tomlin. See more »

Goofs

After Mel has crashed the truck and is at the police station, Paul and his partner leave the questioning room. When they re-enter the questioning room, Paul opens the door with his left hand. In the next shot, he is entering with a clipboard in his left hand. See more »

Quotes

Mary Schlichting: Oh, he was such a cute baby.
Richard Schlichting: It would've been kinda nice... if he had, like, a third eye right there, you know? You know, you know, a third eye is a symbol of enlightenment. You know, he's not- he's not, he's not getting it. He's...
Mary Schlichting: Mel... identity is nothing but a mental construct.
Mel: Mental construct?
Richard Schlichting: Have you ever read any Tibetan Buddhism, like Chaos theory?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The VHS and laserdisc versions (but not the DVD release) feature additional scenes during the end credits, not included in the original theatrical cut, showing the whereabouts of Tina and Tony and Paul. See more »


Soundtracks

Somebody Else's Body
Written and Performed by Urge Overkill
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User Reviews

Why or why not is `Flirting with Disaster' a typical Hollywood movie?
3 September 2002 | by cabaret_emceeSee all my reviews

`Flirting with Disaster' is definitely a typical Hollywood movie in many aspects but not in all of them. It fits the form of classical cinema or classical paradigm in that the director, David O. Russell, does not get distracted from telling the story with filmmaking techniques. It is a clear and precise comedy that never leaves the characters in action, and is done so in a way that works unlike many other films of this genre released today. The film is structured narratively, with a clearly defined conflict from the very beginning. Ben Stiller shines in his performance as a neurotic new father who is trying desperately to find his biological parents in order to name his newborn son. At one point in the film the viewer begins to become anxious and wonder if the same problem for the protagonist, Stiller, is going to continue on in the same form as it has in the past half of the movie, but luckily Russell then changes the flow of the film and brings it to a much more comedic finish than the first half.

The photography is shot in full and long shots throughout most of the movie. Russell must have used deep-focus shots when filming because the surrounding background is clear around the characters, using a wide-angle or short lens. The characters are never off of the screen except for a few instances when we see a plane flying or a car driving and then we have voice-overs. The dialogue is always continuous- there is never a break in the script which works well because the screenplay is well written and clever on its insights on the little inconveniences of everyday life. Although all of these events are too unbelievable too happen all at once, they are all real life comedic situations that could happen to anyone. When compiled together with this plot line, we have this film before us.

Although this is a typical movie in the sense that it does not break any barriers or do anything creatively in its techniques in telling the story, the plot and screenplay do enough justice in making the film entertaining for the audience and one of those films you can just sit down, relax, and have fun viewing because it makes sense and fits together. This aspect is not like many Hollywood films released today, with their gaping holes that leave the viewer feeling unfulfilled. Altogether this was a good film, even though it did fit many of the typical Hollywood stereotypes.


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