Flirting With Disaster

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

When adopted Mel Copeland (Ben Stiller) wants to name his brand new son based on his biological heritage, he and his wife Nancy (Patricia Arquette) contact the adoption agency. Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal play the Copelands, Mel's adoptive parents who understand Mel's need to know his heritage. Tina (Tea Leoni), a psychology student working for the agency, agrees to help them find Mel's birth parents. After a false lead takes them to San Diego, the trio tracks down the trucker and former Hell's Angel who left Mel at the agency. He points them to New Mexico. Much to Mel's dismay, his birth parents (Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin) turn out to be former hippies still making recreational drugs. The interaction of the characters and sight gags make this humorous search for roots work, but you expect more from this collection of comedians.

Much of the humor comes from sexually oriented discussions and actions. During the trip, Tina makes subtle attempts to seduce Mel, like lifting her skirt to clean the video camera. References to unconventional sex also occur frequently, including a discussion about sex between gay men. Although there is no graphic sex, it is implied a few times by couples in bed and Mel becomes physically aroused once. Side breast nudity occurs briefly in one scene and the women are often seen in their underwear. Tony, a former high school friend of Nancy's, admits to being bi-sexual and tries to seduce her, asking her to shower with him. Jealous of Mel's attention to Tina, she says yes. A hallucinating drug intended for Mel is accidentally taken by Tony's homosexual partner, sending him on a trip. In light of former President Reagan's present illness, it seems especially tasteless and disrespectful for his face to be reproduced on sheets of acid paper. With the multiple themes of gay relations, drug use, and sexual freedom, this film is more than FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, it is one.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., NY, NY 10017

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (14) times - Mild 7, Moderate 7

Obscene Language: Many (25) times - F-word 6, s-word 9, other 8, finger gesture 2

Profanity: Many (26) times - Regular 5 (GD), Exclamatory 21

Violence: Few times - Moderate and Mild (falls over furniture, shoving, truck backs into building, hit w/frying pan, minor car wreck)

Sex: Implied few times (married couples, both conventional and unconventional)

Nudity: Twice (abstract statue of nude male and brief side breast nudity); near nudity (women in underwear, men in underwear)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Couple kissing and undressing, discussion of unconventional sex, couple in underwear kissing, man aroused by kissing, man asks woman to shower, man licks woman, couple kissing on bed; woman attempts to seduce married man)

Drugs: Cigarette smoking, drug put on food, couple's paraphenalia for manufacturing recreational drugs

Other: Reference to Chinese zodiac, girl sitting on commode, ethnic slurs; 'acid' paper has image of President Reagan

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.