Flirting with Disaster

Synopsis: 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 -- at last -- Mel's real parents, the Schlictings (mispronounced as "Shit-king
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): David O. Russell
Production: Miramax Films
  1 win & 10 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

My mother could be rich.

She could be rich and smart.

Or she could be rich and stupid.

On the other hand, she could be

just poor and good-hearted.

Or she could be poor and mean.

I mean, I-I have no idea

what she's like. It's--

And there's my father, right?

I look at guys on the street every day--

regular guys

walking down the street.

And depending on my mood, I imagine

that any one of them could be my father.

This guy.

How about this guy?

Hi, Dad.

Then I have to picture

these two people having sex.

Okay, maybe they're not together now.

But at least 30 years ago...

they had to hook up

in order to have me, right?

Mix and match, mix and match,

all these people together.

I can't help feeling...

that if I'd been raised

by at least one of my real parents...

I wouldn't be

such a nervous person, you know?

I might be living a completely different

life in a totally different city.

I could be married to a totally

different person with a different job.

I mean, how do I know? I don't.

Anything's possible.

Well, the mystery of your

unknown self is about to unfold.

Your mother lives

in San Diego, California.

Her name is Valerie Swaney.

Valerie Swaney?

I told you it wouldn't take long.

Can we arrange a meeting soon?

How's, um--

How's next month?

No, no. I told Nancy I'd do it sooner.

I-I've been driving her crazy.

Because you can't name your son?

I've just been distracted and tense

ever since the baby was born.

- A little unsteady?

- Preoccupied.

I heard a song 'bout

clouds and rainbows

I hum a tune

that sings like a dove

Found some words about anything

Anything but love

I paint a picture of my prison

With blue and grey

for the skies above

Framed and signed with a title

Anything but love

He had to go

but I won't miss him

I have got

better things to do

Like writing stories

and painting pictures

Of anything but love

Oh, anything but love

Anything but love


I'm in the bedroom!

Big news.

I got big news.

Hi, sweetie. You look great.

Why are you dressed like that?

Did you forget about our date?

Oh, my God! I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

- No. It's okay, you're here now.

- No, no, no. I feel so bad.

We're not gonna fight about it.

Look at you.

You look so sexy.

But I want to tell you

what I forgot.

- Take your shoes off.

- No, no, wait, wait. We have to talk.

- We have to talk. Talk.

- No. No. Honey, no talking.

No, no, we have to talk

about wh-why I'm late.

- Control freak, huh?

- No. Yeah, maybe I am a control freak.

- Control freak.


- Nap time's over.

- Nap time's over.

Wait, wait. I'll get him.

I'll get him.

You don't have to put your pants on

to get the baby.

Honey, do you think

we're ever gonna have sex?


There, buddy, Yeah.

How ya doin'?

It's okay. Yeah, yeah.

You okay?

- We'll be out in one second.

- Oh.

I feel like I'm keeping you

from something.

No. No, no, no.

This is a priority.

Is this a bad time for your wife?

'Cause, you know, I could come back.

Not at all. We just need

a couple of minutes.

This is crazy.

I mean, all right, I feel guilty

'cause I missed the date.

I just gotta tell her. What am I

afraid of, right? This is stupid.

- Hey, here you go.

- No, no. This is good.

- What?

- This is good. You stay with Daddy.

- Keep his hands occupied.

- Oh, Nancy. Nancy. No, no, no.

Honey. Honey.

Can't we make another date, please?

Thi-- Sweetie, this is--

Sweetie, he's looking right down at you.

This isn't-- Oh. Oh, no, no. No.

No. Oh, no, no, no.

My real mother lives in San Diego.

- What?

- That's what I was trying to tell you.

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David O. Russell

David Owen Russell (born August 20, 1958) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His early directing career includes the comedy films Spanking the Monkey (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Three Kings (1999) and I ♥ Huckabees (2004). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Flirting with Disaster" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Jan. 2023. <>.

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