Flirting with Disaster

Flirting with Disaster

3.7 4
Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni

     
 

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In this satirical comedy, Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller) has a beautiful wife, Nancy (Patricia Arquette), and a four-month old son, and on the surface his life is good. But something's been troubling him: Mel knows he was adopted, and he can't resolve his issues with the mother who gave him away years ago, much to the annoyance of his adoptive parents (George Segal and Mary

Overview

In this satirical comedy, Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller) has a beautiful wife, Nancy (Patricia Arquette), and a four-month old son, and on the surface his life is good. But something's been troubling him: Mel knows he was adopted, and he can't resolve his issues with the mother who gave him away years ago, much to the annoyance of his adoptive parents (George Segal and Mary Tyler Moore). Mel decides it's time he met his birth parents and resolved his feelings once and for all, and Tina (Tea Leoni), a psychology student, has offered to tag along to capture the event on video for a research project. But after a few minutes with Mel's "real" mother, they discover that a mistake has been made and they've been directed to the wrong person. A second meeting, this time with Mel's supposed dad, also turns out to be a mistake, and it's quite some time before Mel, Nancy, and Tina are finally face to face with Mel's biological parents -- a pair of burned-out hippies (played by Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin) who support themselves by dealing blotter acid daubed onto pictures of Ronald Reagan. It doesn't help that Mel finds himself attracted to the very leggy Tina, or that Nancy's head is turned by a bisexual ATF agent (Josh Brolin). Writer/director David O. Russell previously made a splash with his independent debut feature, 1994's Spanking the Monkey.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Flirting With Disaster combines a satirical tendency to play with broad character types -- the overbearing Jewish mother, the fastidious homosexual, the neurotic career woman, the conservative Texan -- with a razor sharp eye for absurd situations and a wonderful attention to the nuances of dialogue. The result is a winning comedy that subverts as many stereotypes as it upholds, one that keeps its jokes rooted to its characters' inner lives even as it indulges in frequently hilarious set-ups and pratfalls. The wonderful performances are too numerous to mention, but old pros Mary Tyler Moore, Alan Alda, and Lily Tomlin head the list -- Tomlin for playing wonderfully to type and the other two for subverting their supremely nice images. (An infamous scene of Moore flashing her black brassiere at the camera gave the sitcom goddess cachet with a whole new audience in the '90s.) As for the leads, Ben Stiller plays his typically self-involved everyman as capably as ever, while Patricia Arquette, as his sweetly grounded wife, and Tea Leoni, as the svelte psych student who comes between them, provide low-key comic genius. Factor in Josh Brolin's best performance to date, as an armpit-licking novelist/federal agent, and it becomes clear that precocious second-time writer/director David O. Russell is as good with actors as he is with jokes and dialogue. Flirting With Disaster may not break taboos like Russell's debut, Spanking the Monkey, but its hilarious send-ups of everything from hippie survivors to gay marriage proves the director can put a distinctive stamp on even a relatively mainstream comedy.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/15/2011
UPC:
0031398137467
Original Release:
1996
Source:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:33:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Deleted scenes; Humorous mistakes (Outtakes from feature and deleted scenes)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Stiller Mel Coplin
Patricia Arquette Nancy Coplin
Téa Leoni Tina Kalb
Mary Tyler Moore Mrs. Coplin
George Segal Mr. Coplin
Alan Alda Richard Schlicting
Lily Tomlin Mary Schlicting
Josh Brolin Tony
Richard Jenkins Paul
Celia Weston Valerie Swaney
Glenn Fitzgerald Lonnie Schlicting
David Patrick Kelly Fritz Boudreau
John Ford Noonan Mitch
Beth Ostrosky Jane
Cynthia Lamontagne Sandra
Charlet Oberly B&B Lady
Nadia Dajani Jill
Don Creech Cop #1
Clarke Bittner Cop #2
Tony Kruk Detective
Jonathan Teague Cook Sheriff
Steve Moreno Deputy
Tori Davis Flight Attendant
Shawn Michael Howard Roger
Suzanne Snyder Alternative Wife

Technical Credits
David O. Russell Director,Screenwriter
Eric Brown Stunts
Scott K. Coder Asst. Director
Eric Alan Edwards Cinematographer
Stuart Emanuel Sound Editor
Stephen Endelman Score Composer,Songwriter
Risa Bramon Garcia Casting
Christopher Goode Associate Producer
Bonnie Greenberg Musical Direction/Supervision
Jolyon Handler Asst. Director
Wendy Hedin Sound/Sound Designer
Lori Hicks Makeup
Trea Hoving Executive Producer
Kent Johnson Asst. Director
Joyce R. Korbin Stunts
Marco Londoner Asst. Director
Ellen Lutter Costumes/Costume Designer
Kerry Orent Co-producer
Rolf Pardula Sound/Sound Designer
Ellen Parks Casting
Todd Pfeiffer Asst. Director
Judy Rhee Art Director
Dean Silvers Producer
Jeremy Slutskin Asst. Director
Alan Steinman Asst. Director
Christopher Tellefsen Editor
Kevin Thompson Production Designer
Sheila Waldron Asst. Director
David Wechsler Asst. Director
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Ford Wheeler Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Flirting with Disaster
1. Opening Credits [3:33]
2. A Date Interrupted [4:31]
3. Psychic Scars [9:30]
4. Mistaken Mother [10:24]
5. Big Rig [6:33]
6. Dinner At Minetti's [5:41]
7. B&B Telephone Policy [4:06]
8. Hallway Passion [2:56]
9. At the Airport [4:25]
10. Contamination [4:12]
11. Special Meal [8:20]
12. Tripping [10:35]
13. Mistaken White Rental Car [6:29]
14. Jailhouse [3:28]
15. End Credits [7:58]

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Flirting with Disaster 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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