waterworks each night at 11
How many of you have seen David O. Russell's Flirting With Disaster (1996)? With the exception of the stupidly maligned I ♥ Huckabees, it's his funniest film. One day it will surely be rediscovered given the attention his films regularly win now. The film centers on bickering spouses Mel & Nancy (Ben Stiller & Patricia Arquette) who are searching for Mel's birth parents. In the screwball chaotic final act, they end up sharing the guest rooms in the crowded home of drug-loving hippie conspiracy theorists (Lily Tomlin, Alan Alda, Glen Fitzgerald) with a neurotic adoption agency executive Tina (Tea Leoni) and federal agents partners Paul and Tony (Richard Jenkins and Josh Brolin) who are also lovers. Eyes start to wander: Tina and Mel get flirtatious and Tony just can't stop coming on to Nancy.
While Mel enjoys a very uncomfortable dinner downstairs, upstairs tattooed and pierced Tony walks right into Nancy's bathroom where she's brushing her teeth. She immediately gets nervous and drops a picture frame on the floor and begins babbling about prints she has at home. Should she frame them? Anything to avoid looking at this bisexual hunk in a towel. He interrupts...
Tony: Do you want to take a shower?
Nancy: You go ahead.
Tony: No, together.
Nancy: [Awkward Laugh]
Tony: Your husband has been taking you for granted a little bit, don't you think?
Nancy: Let me get my shower cap.
The scene only gets funnier from there (despite some awkward cross-cutting between three different sets of characters) but you really have to see it in context for the full hilarity. Sadly for Patricia, she never makes it to the shower with young Brolin.
Ben Stiller does, however, walks in on his screen wife in a hilarious wet compromising position, though. This remains one of Josh Brolin's best characters; it's tough to beat a baby hungry sweetly carnal bisexual federal agent with a thing for women's armpits for memorability. It's also a great reminder that Patricia Arquette was once quite an engaging big screen presence with unique comic timing and dramatic spins on her scenes. (She's excellent in the upcoming Boyhood, so a comeback could be in order). Every time I watch any scene from this movie I wish everyone involved would work with David O. Russell again, but especially Jenkins, Arquette, Brolin & Tomlin. Why let Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence have all the fun?