Flirting with Disaster

March 22nd, 1996


Flirting with Disaster

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Still of Patricia Arquette and Ben Stiller in Flirting with DisasterStill of Téa Leoni and Ben Stiller in Flirting with DisasterStill of Téa Leoni and Ben Stiller in Flirting with DisasterStill of Patricia Arquette and Ben Stiller in Flirting with Disaster

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

Release Year: 1996

Rating: 6.8/10 (9,453 voted)

Critic's Score: 81/100

Director: David O. Russell

Stars: Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni

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...

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 Ostrosky - Jane
Cynthia Lamontagne - Sandra
David Patrick Kelly - Fritz Boudreau
John Ford Noonan - Mitch

Taglines: Have you flirted yet?

Release Date: 22 March 1996

Filming Locations: Battle Creek, Michigan, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $14,891,000 (USA)

Technical Specs


Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Tony calls Paul "Phil" when they are in the restaurant, just as Paul gets up to leave.

Mary Schlichting: You apologize!
Lonnie Schlichting: I'm sorry.
Mary Schlichting: Sorry for what?
Lonnie Schlichting: I'm sorry that I put windowpane in Mel's quail, and I'm sorry that you ate it.

User Review


Rating: 9/10

This is one of the few movies I find seriously funny. Stiller, Leoni, Moore, everyone does a killer job, and humor emerges from a variety of silly-crazy and intellectual sources, so you can respect yourself when you laugh. Human neuroses give rise to a lot of sympathetic laughter. Most of it is human frailty and absurdity. Tea Leoni is hilarious, and does a great job of getting on your nerves, and trying to get into Stiller's pants behind his wife's back while still being completely neurotic and self-absorbed. Her psycho-babble is highly effective. Stiller plays the usual awkward introspective man who lacks self confidence. His parents are magnificent, and so are his 'real' parents. I loved it. highly recommended. What else are you going to watch?


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