Thursday, November 24, 2011

Father of Invention: Movie Review

 

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

“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). 2010 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Trent Cooper

Screenplay by: Jonathan D. Krane and Trent Cooper

Starring: Kevin Spacey and 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.