Great Food Moments in Film: 'Flirting with Disaster'

Mary Tyler Moore wielding her weapon of choice

Mary Tyler Moore wielding her weapon of choice

In this, the inaugural installment of Great Food Moments in Film, in which CineMunch dissects and digests the scenes that legitimize our efforts to force food and film together into something coherent, we bring you the great cheese attack of Flirting with Disaster.

Sure, Flirting with Disaster may be most noted for its writer/director David O. Russell, whose recent films Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle have swept two awards seasons and swept up Jennifer Lawrence in Hollywood's starmaking machine. And sure, the plot focuses on Ben Stiller's character and his quest to track down his birth parents.

But dig deeper and you'll find the real star of this show is Mary Tyler Moore, who, as neurotic-New-Yorker-slash-adoptive-mother Pearl Coplin, turns violent in her first scene. There's nothing like a marital scuffle to incite a game of "Where's the Closest Weapon?" and in this case the answer is a wheel of Brie.

Pearl and husband Ed (George Segal) are already fighting as the camera enters their Manhattan living room:

     Ed: This cheese is disgusting. Get it away from me!
     Pearl: What's wrong with this cheese?
     Ed: It smells like vomit.
     Pearl: Oh, stop being such a baby.
     Ed: I'm a baby? It smells like vomit.

(Sidenote: Vomit cheese? We've all been there. But it's so worth it. And it's so worth going back, right?) Anyway, the conversation moves on, but minutes later when Ed scolds Pearl for badgering their son, she knows just how to get him back. The vomit cheese close at hand, Pearl grabs the entire pac-man-shaped wheel and chases him across the room, thus crystallizing one of Brie's most shining, if floppy, moments on the silver screen.

Once you've gotten your fill seeing Mary sling cheese, the rest of the movie's worth a watch, too. Bonus: it's available now on Netflix instant!