Flirting With Disaster Movie Review

You know, I was in a real downer of a mood when I went to see Flirting With Disaster, but, incredibly, the raw comedy of this film could only cheer me up. And I thought I was a cynic....

The sophomore effort of writer/director David O. Russell (whose first film, Spanking the Monkey, was a real jaw-dropper by virtue of its title alone) is a comedy/romance that somehow captures the feel of both a home movie and an acid trip together. On the surface, the story of Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller) and his search for his birth parents is a tried-and-true tale. In reality, Flirting With Disaster has more twists than a French braid and as much comedy as, well, as much brash and uncompromising comedy as anything else has given us this year.

Stiller is his typically wacky self but is not as overbearing as he's been in films like If Lucy Fell and Reality Bites. Instead, Stiller's presence is deftly underplayed as he balances the performances of his supporting stars, which include wife Patricia Arquette, Mary Tyler Moore & George Segal as his brash adoptive parents, Richard Jenkins as a staunch yet progressive ATF bureau employee, Alan Alda & Lily Tomlin as Mel's real folks, and Glenn Fitzgerald as Mel's psychotic real brother. The writing and dialogue here are fantastic, and after a somewhat slow start, Russell's film quickly speeds into overdrive and never lets up.

And how can I go without mentioning co-star Téa Leoni as a drool-inducing homewrecker/adoption agency employee who all but steals the show? I can't! Leoni is nothing short of fantastic here, and I'm so enthralled with her graces that I'd probably watch two hours of her doing her laundry.

Russell's greatest achievement with Flirting With Disaster is his ability to draw us into the tale he is weaving, to make a fresh and outrageous film that is completely believable and, incredibly, ethically upstanding by its end. It's also a pleasant reminder that, hey, no matter how miserable you are, it really could be a lot worse... and it could turn out for the best.

The latest DVD release adds deleted scenes and outtakes to a near-classic film.

Coffee or Téa?


Comments

Flirting With Disaster Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1996

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