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Father of Invention More at IMDbPro »

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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

How reviews work

Author: diggus doggus from United Kingdom
13 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you find yourself coming to IMDb for a sneak peek at your next movie outing, please remember this rule: reviewers who vote a film 8* or more, if they have only one, or two at the most, reviews posted .. are probably what the industry calls "sponsored reviewers" or, in layman's terms, "professional bullsh**ers".

Unfortunately Father of Invention is one of those titles that the parent studio feels needs sponsored reviews, as you can see for yourself if you browse the few reviews here on IMDb (just click on the Author's name in the review); the film isn't terrible, but apart from Kevin Spacey doing his best, there really isn't much of a story to keep it afloat.

Rober "Bob" Axel has just come out of jail for marketing a faulty product (whait, what? do corporation chairmen go to jail for that? this film must be set in a parallel universe where criminal charges apply differently than real-life US), and he has to start again from the bottom rung of society, trying to rebuild all he lost, including his family, car, friends, and all that upper-crust stuff. He fails.

That's about it for a pretty mediocre film, with a very diminutive script, truly awful supporting characters, middle of the road acting, and lacklustre direction; Spacey is good, but the constraints of a unimaginative ..everything .. leave him no space to shine.

Avoid this film if you can, there are too many boring and inconsequential filler scenes in it to make this an easy sit-through, even with friends. Instead, do go see something else out this week, like Soldier Spy, Machinegun Preacher, 50/50, 1911, Heavy Times, or the superb Drive. Anything really, but not this. Or Melancholia.

Final vote, 4/10. Pretty bad.

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52 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

Horrible. You'll feel cheated out of the time you could have spent doing ANYTHING else.

Author: jmbuehler from United Kingdom
12 October 2011

Stupendously dumb movie. Complete waste of time, and pretty cringe-worthy to see Spacey struggling with the weak script, the flat acting and cramped humour.

Most scenes appear blatant and set up with an idiotic take on what should be the structure of a 'fabrication' of a riches-to-ashes meets my-daddy-is my hero tale.

Just watch 'The Pursuit of Happiness' backwards followed by 'Meet the parents', throw in some amateur level editing and Uwe Boll talent for delivering and you get the idea.

Definitely Spacey's worst performance and most certainly one of those titles in which most times you'll be asking yourself 'Oh Kevin, what did you do?'.

If avoidable you really should.

Also, it seems all other (three!) reviews are dupes. Which is why I felt the need to share this.

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17 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Instead of a comedy about an inventor, we get a dramedy about a father

Author: napierslogs from Ontario, Canada
25 November 2011

"Father of Invention" stars Kevin Spacey as a fabricator, an infomercial king, who combines existing products into new ones. Problem is he was in jail, now he has lost his empire, and lost his family. The key word in the title is father. The entire film is him trying to reconnect with his daughter (Camilla Belle).

Spacey has frequently played fathers trying to reconnect with their daughter, the prime example being "American Beauty" (1999). Not that one is likely to confuse the two films, but there's an underlying similarity about the pursuit of success and the pursuit of family. That's what "Father of Invention" is about but it doesn't actually explore those issues.

It's also supposed to be a comedy, but because it was just him and his daughter there was nothing clever that catches you off-guard to make you laugh. The daughter (whom, by the way, I have already forgotten her name) lives with two roommates. One is in love with Kevin Spacey (whom I have also forgotten his character's name) and the other is a lesbian. There was no slow reveal for any of this. Those facts were just presented as if they create whole characters.

The conflict which this builds to isn't surprising (it's part of the mandate for dysfunctional family dramedies) or even interesting since we never did care for the characters in the first place. "Father of Invention" certainly didn't invent anything and there's nothing special about the daughter or the father.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Kevin Spacey is terrific

Author: raisleygordon from Ladson, SC
31 December 2011

Don't listen to the critics who pan this movie. Yes, it is predictable, and obvious. But the movie doesn't preach, condescend, take itself (too) seriously, or take its precious time going somewhere. This is actually better than I expected. No question about it, "Father of Invention" is great entertainment, and very effective. You don't have to be a "genius" to enjoy this movie. I could have done without the subplot regarding Heather Graham's lesbian character. I didn't feel it was necessary. It's just a plot device. And I would have loved to see John Stamos a lot more. With an interesting character as his, that one scene wasn't enough. Although he is mentioned near the end of the film. If you're looking for a quality movie to watch (and enjoy Kevin Spacey), this is that movie.


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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The only real attraction here is the brilliant acting of Kevin Spacey

Author: vincentlynch-moonoi from United States
25 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you watch this movie because it sounds like a great movie, you'll probably be disappointed. It's not great. It's not bad, either. It's okay.

If you watch this movie because you enjoy watching Kevin Spacey act, then you'll enjoy this flick. Spacey is that rare actor I can enjoy watching even in a bad movie...and lately some of his flicks haven't been that inspired. But, Spacey is a gem, even when the film isn't.

I rather enjoyed Camilla Belle as the daughter and Heather Graham and Anna Anissimova as her friends. John Stamos' part was so small as to be pathetic -- basically 1 scene. Johnny Knoxville did okay as the store manager. To be honest, I've never understood the attraction to Virginia Madsen as an actress, and I still don't. Among these supporting actors, the only one that stands out -- perhaps -- is Camilla Belle.

The plot? After Robert Axle (Spacey) goes to prison when one of his inventions maims many customers, he comes out after 8 years. Will he rebuild his reputation? It doesn't seem that way at first when he winds up as a rather unsuccessful custodian in a discount store...and gets fired. But, he finally gets a great idea and makes it a success. The bigger question is whether or not he will be successful in repairing his relationship with his daughter.

Unfortunately, the plot is beneath Kevin Spacey. But it's watchable, and of course, his acting is very watchable.

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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A Mother of Inventions

Author: V J from United Kingdom
31 October 2011

FATHER OF INVENTION (2011) stars Kevin Spacey and I thought it might be really good, hilarious, but it was more than a bit corny and I got sick to death of that blonde saying 'I am a lesbian'. So what? It wasn't all that funny the first time she said it and it certainly didn't improve with repetition.

Robert Axle (Spacey) is a 'fabricator', not an inventor, he says. He puts things that already exist together into a new product but one of his fabrications severed fingers actually, and he ended up doing time in prison. When he got out, years later, all his hard earned millions had gone to the now ex-wife and her new husband,and to the injured via lawsuits. He was broke, jobless, homeless. And keeping down a regular job wasn't easy for him. He seemed to be disaster prone. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time mostly. And everywhere he went, trying to better himself, he bumped into people with severed fingers. His wife, living in the mansion he paid for,spending the money he earned, doesn't want to know about his problems. His daughter doesn't seem to care for him much either but she takes pity and he ends up sleeping on the couch in the home which she shares with two friends, one being the boring lesbian ('fraid so'). And so the story went.

It's not bad for a rainy afternoon when you have nothing better to do but my expectations tend to be high with Kevin Spacey. Still, not to worry, you can always play Scrabble or Chess and keep up with this plot at the same time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

For Spacey Fans only

Author: ( from League City Texas
2 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK I admit I always be loving me some Kevin Spacey and "Black Comedies".While this film pales as good comedy,its still good enough Spacey for me and thus the ONLY reason to see it.Infomercials are boring and silly and so are the people who make them.In some regards this film is a update of "The Jerk"in the sense that a guy has it all and loses it because of a bad product then gets it all back.Instead of being born a "poor black child" Spacey's Robert Axle is the common emotionally poor father.The rest of the cast are unimportant as their characters really mean nothing including Axle's daughter,played well enough by Camilla Belle.No,its the sharp ever scheming mind of Axle that matters and Spacey can do this sort of part very well,see "Casino Jack "as a example.Released in 2010 and running but 93 minutes,its for Spacey fans only as no one could really care about someone like Axle for real,or his pathetic life.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good, not great

Author: vchimpanzee
4 August 2015

As the charismatic inventor who appears on TV, Kevin Spacey does quite a good job. He's done this type role before, but Bernadette Peters was there to overshadow him. Here, that's not a problem. Later, I can't say Spacey is that good, considering what he has accomplished, but he has his moments. The best one comes when he realizes he needs to fix his relationship with his daughter.

Heather Graham doesn't start out well. She is nothing more than a nasty lesbian who keeps pointing out that she's a lesbian. Later, she proves to be much more and is even likable. And not a lesbian. Bi, maybe. While I liked her two roommates better at first, by movie's end Phoebe is the best character.

I'm not sure what to say about Johnny Knoxville. The store manager resembles Ty Burrell and, maybe just for that reason, I think Burrell could have played the role. And better. Perhaps he wasn't available. His bumbling Phil Dunphy had similarities to this character that make me think it could have worked. Still, there were times I found the man entertaining.

I liked Claire okay, but she quickly grew impatient with her father, and I guess with good reason. She wasn't as easy to like later, and I'm not even sure how good a job the actress did. One thing stands out about her and that's her great smile at the bank.

I also liked Donna, but she really gave me a reason to like her. At least at the beginning. I'm not sure she had much in the brains department, but she is a sweet girl.

Red West was memorable as Axle's engineer. While he was old and getting senile he knew what he was doing, mostly. It is a great scene where Axle realizes this man he is depending on isn't quite what he used to be.

John Stamos is ideal for the role of a constantly smiling but superficial pitch man. You want to like him because of how he appears on the surface and can't stand him when you see what he's really like. He's just not around much.

Michael Rosenbaum is kind of a disappointment. He makes the most of a small role but he used to be so much like Axle. Genuinely evil with lots of money, though, instead of just someone who messed up.

Craig Robinson is easy to like as the new man in Axle's ex-wife's life.

And about the ex--she is nasty and I can't stand her. And yet Virginia Madsen played such a wonderful character when I saw her the same weekend in "Sideways". She proved what a range she has. Be sure and stay around for her atrocious duet with her husband in the closing credits.

Other than the hideously bad closing credits, the music is good most of the time.

It was a mostly enjoyable movie. I wanted to see Axle succeed. But it's not easy.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Better than average (in my opinion only)

Author: bowmanblue from United Kingdom
28 October 2014

I was quite surprised at all the ultra negative reviews regarding 'The Father of Invention.' Okay, I'll admit it isn't Kevin Spacey's finest film and obviously it isn't up to the standards of American Beauty, but I found it had a certain amount of charm to it.

Spacey plays a slick 'infomercial' salesman who ends up getting his good-life taken away from him when he goes to jail, thus leaving his wife and daughter high and dry. Fast forward eight years and he's released and desperate to make amends (not to mention lots of money).

It's not the most original of stories and you can probably predict the ending, but it is Kevin Spacey in the lead role and, slightly dubious script or not, he still lends plenty of heavyweight kudos to the whole affair. It's definitely a comedy/drama. If you're expecting a 'laugh-a-minute' affair then you'll be sorely disappointed, but I found it had enough humorous moments to keep me happy.

Like I say, predictable ending and plenty of 'lessons' to teach us, but if you're a fan of Kevin Spacey, it should keep you going until his next offering.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A very light film which leaves the audience disappointed

Author: Ed-Shullivan from Canada
22 January 2014

Even first rate actors like Kevin Spacey cannot save a film just on their name alone, they need a better script to work with. In this case Kevin Spacey plays a successful multi-millionaire inventor named Robert Axle who ends up serving a 10 year prison term for inventing and releasing prematurely an exercise machine that severs fingers from a number of purchasers. Robert Axle invested his whole life in marketing his inventions and no time what so ever with his little girl, played by Camilla Belle, or his ex wife Lorraine played by Virginia Madsen.

When Axle gets out of prison not only is his name poison with the large retail giants, but his ex wife has remarried to a Forest Ranger named Jerry King played by Craig Robinson, and they have slowly squandered a fortune of over 200 million dollars. Axle's only daughter Claire, played by Camilla Belle still suffers from latent child abandonment issues. So life has been cruel to Robert Axle these past 10 years in prison. He first befriends his daughters two roommates, who agree to give up their couch to Robert rather than have to watch him live in a men's shelter for too long.

In an effort to redeem himself and regain his Midas touch with a new invention, Axle goes to work at the fourth largest retail chain named Family World, whose immediate Assistant Store Manager is a guy named Troy Coangelo, played superbly by Johnny Knoxville. Axle and Troy don't see eye to eye on the store's priorities and as such Axle's career at Family World is short lived. Desperate to make amends with his daughter Claire, Axle does come up with a new invention but can't find an investor willing to risk financing a dead beat and felony ex convict like Axle.

Eventually he does find one investor and he also makes amends with his daughter. Yes, there are a few sentimental tear jerker scenes between father and daughter but not quite enough good film value for me to recommend Father Of Invention for your viewing pleasure.

As a result I rate the film a 5 out of 10. Viewer beware of a weak script with little decent content.

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