Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Flirting with Disaster

A young Ben Stiller plays Mel Coplin, an entomologist and new father who sets out on a journey to meet his real parents much to the displeasure of his neurotic parents played by Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal. He takes along with him his young wife, played by Patricia Arquette, and their baby, played by a baby, as well as the psychologist from the adoption agency, played by a young Téa Leoni, who thinks Ben's case will make an interesting documentary case study. She offers to tag along and pay for the trip.

Their Planes Trains and Automobiles style cross country trek is marked by a couple false starts but they finally discover Ben's parents, played by Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin, who end up being basement-LSD-producing baby boomer hippies living in the middle of the desert. This wouldn't be such a big deal if it weren't for the fact that along the way, Ben and his ensemble pick up two homosexual FBI agents, one of which is willing to look the other way (and swing the other way I might add), the other who now has an acute interest in the parents.

Released in 1996, Flirting with Disaster is well cast, fast paced, and punctuated with some early Ben Stiller-style humor (see There's Something about Mary, Meet the Partents and Along Came Polly), along with some pretty funny slapstick and LOL situational humor but in the abruptly tacked-on end, the viewer is left wondering "...is that all there is?"

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