Flirting With Disaster - * *

Strange and quirky comedy whose humor depends on how much you identify with the Ben Stiller’s neurotic character. Stiller plays Mel, the adopted son of two less than perfect parents (Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal). The birth of his baby boy leads Mel to seek out his real parents, with wife Nancy (Patricia Arquette), and adoption agency representative Tina (Tea Leoni) in tow. However, the search is not as simple as it originally seems, putting strains not only on Mel, but his marriage as well. The film meanders from the quirkiness of prospective parents, through potential affairs for both Nancy and Mel, and into the nervous uncertainty of Mel’s character. The different vignettes vary in humor, some of which is hampered by Stiller’s character (which may prove annoying to some). A lot of the gags seem humorous in the abstract, but lose the humor in the flesh. Still, there are some interesting characters, particularly Richard Jenkins and Josh Brolin as some federal agents, and potential parents Lily Tomlin and Alan Alda, stuck in the 60s. David O. Russell wrote and directed a film that won’t please all, but will bring some chuckles to some.

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