“Flirting with Disaster” (1995) dir. David O. Russell


Director David O. Russell is currently enjoying a critical (and increasingly popular commercial) hit with “Sliver Linings Playbook.” While Russell has directed some great films in his career (“Three Kings,” “The Fighter”), my favorite is the nearly forgotten “Flirting with Disaster” from 1995. Easily one of the best comedies of the 1990s, Ben Stiller plays a new father who can’t bring himself to name his new child until he discovers who his real parents are. His journey leads him down some very bizarre and hysterically funny detours. Everything about “Disaster,” from the script to the casting (Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, Josh Brolin, Richard Jenkins, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, and several other terrific character actors) is flawless. Aside from the generic title (which is pretty terrible, in my opinion), I don’t know why this film was not a commercial hit. While it has become a minor cult favorite, the film truly deserves better and is so goofy and weird, it will put a smile on your face, even if you’re in the worst mood.