6.7/10
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103 user 52 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)

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

John Cusack was considered for the role of Mel Coplin. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Mrs. Coplin: Why does he have to do the Roots thing? Aren't we good enough parents?
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 The Middle: Flirting with Disaster (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Camel Walk
Written by R. Miller
Performed by Southern Culture on the Skids
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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