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Flirting With Disaster

1999

R CC
Available on Prime

In a quest to find his biological parents, Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller) - joined by his wife (Patricia Arquette) and a sexy adoption counselor (Tea Leoni) - embarks on a cross-country search for his "roots".By the time they meet up with his free-spirited birth parents, the whole situation is spinning hysterically out of control!

Starring:
Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette
Runtime:
1 hour, 32 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director David O. Russell
Starring Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette
Supporting actors Téa Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Jenkins, Josh Brolin, Celia Weston, Glenn Fitzgerald, Beth Stern, Cynthia LaMontagne, David Patrick Kelly, John Ford Noonan, Charlet Oberly, Nadia Dajani, Don Creech, Clarke Bittner, Tony Kruk
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Even though my comments will echo those of other positive comments listed on this site, I felt I HAD to put my two cents in, if only to get the "Average Rating" boosted so that more folks will check out this classic comedy. As you can see from the handful of negative reviews, it's not everyone's cup of tea - some people perceive it to be a somewhat grating experience. True, the humor comes out of putting people in very uncomfortable situations but, if you find humor in well meaning but neurotic people squrming and sweating their way through funny mishap after funny mishap, you will adore this movie. Everyone is fantastic in this film, though Tea Leoni, Alan Alda, and Lily Tomlin come close to stealing the show. Arquette is a sexy straight man (though she gets to earn some laughs, too), Stiller is his usual put-upon self, Mary Tyler Moore & George Segal have great cameos, and Josh Brolin & Richard E. Jenkins make for two unforgettable Feds. A ton of brilliant set pieces and memorable/quotable lines are served up by the very talented David O. Russell ("Three Kings," "Spanking the Monkey") in this, his second film as writer/director. I have no negative criticism to offer - it's hilarious every time you view it (and I've screened it plenty). Really, it's one of the best SMART comedies of the past decade. Folks looking for flatulence jokes, zany hairdos, and pop cultural references in lieu of witty dialogue will have to look elsewhere. I'd give it 10 stars if that were an option - I cannot praise it enough.
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Format: DVD
Where to begin! Lily Tomlin and Alan Ada at the top of their game in an all-round stellar comic starcast. Lighthearted but biting dialogue that houses a charming warmth for its dysfunctional characters.
And a doozy theme: a new father's search for his birth parents. He can't name his own baby until he knows more about where he came from. The adoption agent who accompanies them is the epitome of the high strung New Yorker, whose goofs and gaffs lead the group into one riotous predicament after another. Particularly funny if you have recently been thinking of names for a baby, or if you can laugh at 60's counterculture.
The movie is funniest in the last 15 minutes or so. The closing credits alone are worth the price of admission (or DVD). Recommended rental. Even better the second time round.
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Format: DVD
This is certainly one of the funniest flims to come along in years and years. It is filled with memorable dialog and scenes that are so much fun you'll want to see them over and over. The cast is superb. Everyone is great. Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal as Stiller's adoptive parents are perfect. As he begins the search for his real parents he meets some hilarious characters and it all culminates in the meeting of Lily Tomlin and Alan Alda. Without giving too much away, let me just say that this movie is priceless! A must see.
My highest compliments to the writers and director.
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Format: DVD
This is an absolutely stunning, painfully funny film, shamefully underrated (see also 'Office Space', 'Dirty Work' for similarly overlooked comic masterpieces). I'm not such a huge Ben Stiller fan, apart from in 'Mary, and 'Royal Tennenbaums', but he is perfectly cast here, as a reticent man, forced into some horrifically uncomfortable public humiliations.

It wouldn't be fair to reveal much of the plot, but the climax of Stiller's search for his biological parents is pure gut-renching black comedy.

Don't believe the critics who give this anything less than 5 stars - this is top-quality entertainment, for those who like their comedy black, and on the dry side.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I LOVE this movie. Have since the first time I saw it, and it remains in my top 10. Hilarious situations, great acting; there are lines we still quote to this day! The two sets of parents are comic geniuses -- Mary Tyler Moore in particular. Ben Stiller looks so young and ungroomed, but is quite strong in his usual self-depreciating way. The series of situations the characters go through make this a classic farce, not to mention a road show, but does not feel predictable at all. Take a chance, you'll love it!
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Having shocked everyone with his black comedy debut about incest, "Spanking the Monkey", David O. Russell got even more attention from the industry by executing this relatively mainstream comedy. This is the work of a young man trying to prove to himself what he can do. Farce is a good trainer (just ask Shakespeare): it forces the writer to construct a tight plot with a large cast. If you think it's easy, give it a try sometime. Luckily for Russell, he was ably assisted by what amounts to a dream cast: Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, Richard Jenkins, and Josh Brolin, along with some heavyweight legends like Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Lily Tomlin, and Alan Alda. One has to wonder if Stiller, with his family connections, was the factor in wrangling together such a storied cast for Russell.

It's a road-movie in which Stiller, an adopted child, discovers who his real mother is and drags his young wife Arquette and baby in tow to seek her out. They travel from New York to San Diego to Michican to New Mexico, chasing down leads that inevitably prove to be dead-ends. The plot puts them through the usual farcical paces -- misdirections, physical gags, accidents, mistaken identities. However, the implausibilities of 1) Leoni as an agent for the adoption agency accompanying them and 2) Jenkins and Brolin as FBI agents "along for the ride" because Brolin and Arquette went to high school together, are too much to swallow, no matter how technically well-constructed the plot. Yeah sure, Shakespeare got away with *two* sets of identical twins in "The Comedy of Errors", but Russell isn't Shakespeare, now is he?
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