6.8/10
16,443
103 user 51 critic

Flirting with Disaster (1996)

R | | Comedy | 12 April 1996 (USA)
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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

The shoulder with the towel and the baby. See more »

Quotes

Tina: Do you worry about the risk factor involved in gay sex?
Agent Paul: You know, it may be news to you, but not every gay man has, uh, anal sex. That's where a lot of the HIV risk lies.
Agent Tony: For example, I'm very anal. Uh, I-I mean, in, uh, in the sense... that I'm compulsively careful and clean about what touches my body. Not into penetration, at all.
Mel: Okay, do we have to talk about this right now?
Nancy Coplin: Well, why not? Are you a homophobic?
Mel: No, I...
Nancy Coplin: I think it's interesting.
Mel: Really? Well, I think in front of the baby we...
[...]
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 Yes, Dear: Flirtin' with Disaster (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

For Duty and Humanity
Written by Stimy, David Hepler, Christopher Spanninga
Performed by Inch
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User Reviews

Outstanding black comedy; one of Stiller's best
13 March 2003 | by george.schmidtSee all my reviews

FLIRTING WITH DISASTER (1996) **** Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, Alan Alda, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Lily Tomlin, Richard Jenkins, Josh Brolin. Hilarious and wickedly sharp satire about a young man (Stiller in a memorable turn) searching for his identity by trying to locate his biological parents while alienating his neglected and lovely wife (the yummy Arquette) and Leoni (simply wonderful) as his adoption broker. Fine ensemble cast (especially Moore in an inconoclastic poke at her image) and Alda (ditto). Subversive good, clean fun and seriously dysfunctional family values (thank God!) from filmmaker David O. Russell beating the Sophomore Jinx (in this his second turn at the helm).


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