6.7/10
16,989
104 user 53 critic

Flirting with Disaster (1996)

R | | Comedy | 12 April 1996 (USA)
Trailer
1:57 | Trailer
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? See more »

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:

Flirting with Disaster See more »

Filming Locations:

Carefree, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$164,458, 24 March 1996

Gross USA:

$14,702,438

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,702,438
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

Dick Van Dyke was offered the role of Richard Schlichting. Originally, Mary Tyler Moore was to play the role of his wife Mary but she eventually switched roles in order to portray Pearl Coplin. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, when they are at the jail, the baby goes from asleep to awake in different shots. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Beverly Hills, 90210: Flirting with Disaster (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Flirting With Disaster
Written by Dr. John
Performed by Dr. John and Angela McCluskey
See more »

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User Reviews

A disaster! (And I mean that in a good way)
8 September 2004 | by vchimpanzeeSee all my reviews

Mel goes through a lot of adversity in his quest for his birth parents. Some (but not much) is physical comedy, such as the destruction of a tiny post office, but most of it is just humorous situations. Along the journey, there are unfaithful spouses, including a gay man who cheats on his partner with a woman. And LSD, 30 years after the era of hippies and free love.

This wasn't really my kind of movie, but it was very funny at times and well written and well acted. I especially liked Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin, who may or may not have been Mel's birth parents. Mary Tyler Moore was good as Mel's controlling and neurotic adoptive mother, but I didn't really care for her that way. The sexual humor was quite frank, even after being sanitized somewhat for TV.

An unexpected plot twist could have sent this movie in a whole new direction and made it quite a bit longer. I was disappointed when that didn't happen.

This was worth seeing for those who like this style of comedy.


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