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Flirting With Disaster Details


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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:March 22, 1996


Awarded by
Independent Spirit Awards Richard Jenkins Best Supporting Actor 1996 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Lily Tomlin Best Supporting Actress 1996 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards David O. Russell Best Director 1996 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards David O. Russell Best Screenplay 1996 Nominee


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


David O. Russell
Dean Silvers
David O. Russell
Eric Alan Edwards
Bonnie Greenberg
Musical Direction/Supervision
Stephen Endelman
Composer (Music Score)
Stephen Endelman
Christopher Tellefsen
Kevin Thompson
Production Designer
Judy Rhee
Art Director
Kerry Orent
Christopher Goode
Associate Producer
Trea Hoving
Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein
Executive Producer
Bob Weinstein
Executive Producer
Ford Wheeler
Set Designer
Susan Block
Set Decorator
Ellen Lutter
Costume Designer
Rolf Pardula
Sound/Sound Designer
Wendy Hedin
Sound/Sound Designer
Jolyon Handler
First Assistant Director
David Wechsler
First Assistant Director
Todd Pfeiffer
First Assistant Director
Marco Londoner
First Assistant Director
Sheila Waldron
First Assistant Director
Risa Bramon Garcia
Ellen Parks
Brian Vancho
Foley Artist
Ivor Shier
Kenny Mason
Transportation Coordinator
Richard Rutkowski
First Assistant Camera
Victoria McGarry
Unit Production Manager
Jana Ludwigova
Second Second Assistant Director
George Larkin
Post Production Coordinator
Lowell Jacobs
Boom Operator
Barry Wetcher
Still Photographer
Margo Myers
Production Accountant
Wayne Herndon
Hair Styles
Andrew Saxe
Assistant Location Manager
Lori Hicks
Gary Martone
Key Grip
Yvette Nabel
Foley Artist
Jude Gorjanc
Second Assistant Director
Amanda Slater
Production Assistant
Mark Schwentner
Best Boy Electric
Stuart Emanuel
Sound Editor
Eddy Collyns
Location Manager
Alexis Arnold
Production Coordinator
Julie Duvic
Unit Production Manager
Misako Shimizu
First Assistant Editor
Julie Oppenheimer
Script Supervisor
Arthur Schlenger
First Assistant Editor
Trea Hoving
Co-Executive Producer