Flirting with Disaster
Time Out saysMel (Stiller) has a wife, Nancy (Arquette), an as yet unnamed baby, and a 'psychic need' to track down his biological parents. An adoption agency provides him with information so efficiently that he readily agrees to let research psychologist Tina (Leoni) witness the reunion. Besides, she's an attractive ex-dancer and he and Nancy aren't exactly back up to speed in the bedroom. Unfortunately, there's been a mix-up in the records, and the next 'father' he checks out isn't legitimate either; so the threesome - plus baby - work their way across the country, picking up a couple of gay federal agents en route. Writer/director Russell's follow-up to the incest comedy Spanking the Monkey confirms his gift for acute mischief-making. The neurotic frenzy threatens to annoy, but Russell's edgy, abbreviated style generates farcical comic friction without sacrificing character. When, early on, that icon of wholesomeness Mary Tyler Moore flashes her support bra, it's clear that, henceforth, nothing's sacred. It must be excruciatingly embarrassing to be related to this film-maker, but he's fast becoming a favourite son to the rest of us.