Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ingenious: Movie Review

Walking the typical drama-comedy line but with great camaraderie.

“Ingenious” (formerly known as “Lightbulb”) is a typical drama-comedy about putting yourself out there and following your dreams no matter how broke or desperate you become. But don’t worry, it’s not as cliché as it sounds. It plays out with comedy and their ideas are anything but commonplace. Matt (Dallas Roberts) and Sam (Jeremy Renner) are life-long friends trying to make it rich with the next genius idea. 2009 (with 2012 DVD release)

Directed by: Jeff Balsmeyer

Screenplay by: Mike Cram

Starring: Dallas Roberts, Jeremy Renner

Matt comes up with ideas like watches with animations of your dog dreaming, or watches with random lottery numbers. Sam then tries selling the inventions. Barely successful his salesman techniques involve false advertising and pursuing dead-end leads. They do make enough money to almost run a funky gift shop for a little while.

The film succeeds because of the lead actors. Roberts and Renner have an extremely fun chemistry and their camaraderie ranks right up there with the best on-screen male friendships. Dallas Roberts has shone in drama-comedies before, but who knew Jeremy Renner could do comedy? It rarely seems like a good idea to finally release previous unreleased films just because an actor has become famous, but if this gets more comedic roles for Renner, then it’s worth it.

The third genre introduced was romance. As much as I like romantic comedies, there was just no place for the up-and-down contrivances of Sam and Matt and their girlfriends, particularly Matt’s girlfriend Gina (Ayelet Zurer). She threatens to leave him when she thinks he’s lying, forgives when she decides he’s not, leaves him when she decides he was, and then might come back to him for who knows what reason. We all could have done with less of that.

Less of the girlfriend drama would mean more of the friendship comedy, and as I mentioned, that was the best part. Even the friendship drama was pretty well done. Sam, along with his shaky sales methods, has a penchant for gambling. Matt does too since he always tags along. One of the defining scenes of “Ingenious” has the guys attending a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. They’re there because they know they have a problem, they just don’t know what it is.