Degen Pener
April 19, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Frothing with adulterous intrigue and sexual innuendo, Flirting With Disaster is far from uplifting comedy. But it may end up doing wonders for the bra business. Shots of Mary Tyler Moore exposing a simple black brassiere are the centerpiece of Miramax’s marketing campaign. And that’s not the only unmentionable underpinning the development of the movie’s screwball plot. Aside from Ben Stiller’s boxers, three items of lingerie stand out.

Patricia Arquette tries to excite Stiller by wearing a La Perla satin slip (around $180 at the company’s Madison Avenue boutique), but to no avail. ”She makes all this effort, and yet ultimately when Josh Brolin tries to seduce her she’s wearing a dorky nursing bra and a shower cap,” says Flirting‘s costume designer, Ellen Lutter.

Forsaking panty hose, Tea Leoni has better luck enticing Stiller with thigh-highs from Calvin Klein. Later, when the two collide in a hallway, she’s wearing the stockings, a cardigan, a bra, and panties. ”If anyone wouldn’t pack a nightie,” says Lutter, ”it’s her.” Then there’s Moore’s billboard-worthy bra. ”It’s not hard to get a good bra on Mary,” notes Lutter. Still, Moore tried on at least 10 before finding this one. ”We would see how it fit and take photographs,” says Lutter. ”It’s flattering, but it looks like it’s doing the job.”

Whether Flirting can bring underwear back to pre-Basic Instinct levels remains to be seen. But don’t expect any more of Moore. Says the actress: ”The bra covers more than what I wear to the beach. But that’s as close as I’ll come to a nude scene.”

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