Though a slightly more biting satire about those irresistible-yet-useless gadgets may have been preferred, “Father of Invention” succeeds by entertaining us on a very universal level.
That is to say that the new motion picture, which was written and directed by Trent Cooper, is funny without being too outrageous, touching without being too sentimental and dramatic without being too serious. Best of all, at its heart, “Father of Invention” is a movie that values family and attempts to pass on said value to viewers without hitting them over the head with disparagement.
In “Father of Invention,” Kevin Spacey plays Robert Axle an eccentric inventor turned ego-driven infomercial guru who is released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence in connection to a class-action lawsuit resulting from one of his inventions having maimed thousands of customers.
Ready to redeem his name and hopefully rebuild his billion dollar empire, Robert must first convince his estranged 22-year old daughter (Camilla Belle) to let him live with her and her quirky, over protective roommates (Heather Graham and Anna Anissimova) as well as find that one invention that will redeem him.
“Father of Invention” also stars Johnny Knoxville, Virginia Madsen, John Stamos, Craig Robinson and Michael Rosenbaum so, needless to say, there is plenty of talent to keep the movie afloat on at least a shallow, external level. However, the flick has plenty more to offer, transcending any particular genre by being merely amusing.
In other words, Cooper presents “Father of Invention” in such a way that the viewer remains thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Moreover, the filmmaker uses the good time to distract the viewer from what is really going on, which is the communication of a lesson about balancing one’s personal and professional lives.
Having said that, Cooper and his co-writer Jonathan D. Krane too often play it safe with the material, failing to deviate from a fairly predictable route much less dive far enough into parody to truly take advantage of this topic’s tremendous potential. However, “Father of Invention” is still a remarkably fun film from which you can also learn a thing or two about one of life’s most commonly experienced challenges.
“Father of Invention” (PG-13 – 93 minutes) is now available on Blu-ray and DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley.