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Flirting with Disaster (1996)

R | | Comedy | 12 April 1996 (USA)
2:18 | Trailer

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


4,193 ( 4,838)
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mel Coplin
... Nancy Coplin
... Tina Kalb
... Pearl Coplin
... Ed Coplin
... Richard Schlichting
... Mary Schlichting
... Paul Harmon
... Agent Tony Kent
... Valerie Swaney
... Lonnie Schlichting
... Jane (as Beth Ostrosky)
... Sandra (as Cynthia Lamontagne)
... Fritz Boudreau
John Ford Noonan ... Mitch


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


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:

Official site



Release Date:

12 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amori e disastri  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,891,000, 31 December 1996
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Janeane Garofalo turned down the role of Tina Kalb. See more »


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


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...
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Red Beans & Reverb
Written by R. Miller
Performed by Southern Culture on the Skids
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User Reviews

A "David O Russell" film which shows that finding about one's real parents could be a real disaster.
13 February 2015 | by See all my reviews

It is no surprise that in many ways human beings reflect what their parents must have been. There is a biological perspective to it as this has a lot to do with the fact that children carry their parents' genes in them. However, there is no definitive yardstick for determining the behavioral traits of children as they might or might not have been influenced by their parents. All these ideas tend to give rise to an inherent desire to know more about one's parents especially 'one's biological parents'. This is a challenging as well as a serious theme which has been humorously represented on screen by American director David O Russell. For this reason, he takes us on a hilarious, fun filled ride across two different parts of America where a married couple meets up with other oddball characters. Apart from discussing issues related to bad parenting, 'Flirting with disaster' talks about a couple's conjugal life after the birth of a baby. Although most people would not like to be found in a position to generalize a work of art, this film remains a good example of American attitudes to drugs, marriage, relationships and sexuality. Hilarity is ensured as each character carries multiple flaws.

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