On the surface Mel seems to have a good life, he has a beautiful wife, Nancy, and a four-month old son but he remains haunted by not knowing the identity of his parents. You see, Mel was adopted and is desperate to understand why his mother gave him away years ago. Much to the annoyance of his parents, Mel decides it's time to meet his birth parents, setting off with Nancy and
Tina, a psychology student, who has offered to capture the reconcilliation on video for a research project, to find his biological parents. David O. Russell's Flirting with Disaster is a wild, zany trip of self discovery that is certainly entertaining, though lacking in terms of emotional resonance. This is one of those cinephile blind-spots that has been following me around for awhile now and I figured it was time to stomp it out. Flirting With Disaster has a nice narrative rhythm following a series of events that get more and more outlandish as Mel searches for his biological parents. The film is certainly satirical, with much of the adventure being this form of exaggerated reality. This gives the film a great amount of comedy but I felt it took away from the real story - Mel's desire to find his mother blinding him from his own troubles taking place in his marriage. The dramatic force of the story takes too much of backseat for me, but I could see why this doesn't bother most viewers. Flirting with Disaster's biggest strength is a great supporting cast, from George Segal and Mary Tyler Moore as Mel's overprotective adopted parents, to Richard Jenkins and Josh Brolin as homosexual police officer's who tag along for the ride, the collective cast of characters are refreshing and unique. In terms of visuals, Flirting With Disaster is a very controlled hand-held/static composition hybrid, which does a good job at capturing the film's spontaneity while never being overly complicated or distracting to the story. In the end, David O Russell's Flirting With Disaster is a fun, well-written satirical film that sacrifices some of its dramatic impact for laughs.
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