Film / Flirting with Disaster

Flirting with Disaster is a 1996 comedy directed by David O. Russell and starring Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, and Téa Leoni. It is the story of one man's quest to find his biological parents in hopes that this will cure his neuroses and help him decide on a name for his newborn son. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues.

This film contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Mel's adoptive parents, psychologically.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Mel's biological parents, played by Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin.
  • Gene Hunting: The basic premise of the movie - Mel goes searching for his biological parents.
  • Intoxication Ensues: After Mel finally meets his LSD-manufacturing biological parents, his newly-acquainted resentful brother doses his dinner with the stuff, but it gets eaten by a Federal agent who is along for the trip (as it were).
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Mel's biological parents turn out to be old hippies who passionately argue that taking LSD shouldn't be a felony (as well they would, as they're manufacturing it.)
  • Parental Abandonment: Mel is tormented by the fear that there was some very good reason why his biological parents gave him up for adoption.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: Valerie Swaney has a priceless collection of glass animals. Naturally, Mel accidentally destroys it.
  • The Unpronounceable: The name "Schlichting". Everyone outside of that family seems to have difficulty pronouncing it.