Courtesy - The Sunday Leader By Sumaya Samarasinghe
So what’s this movie about again? A semi con man being released from jail? A father rebuilding his severely damaged relationship with his lovely daughter?
At the end of “Father of Invention”, no one is really very sure because the movie has gone kind off all over the place. But then again, if your are in a mood for something very light, with lovely sets and an attractive cast, this is the film for you as long as you keep your expectations low!
The movie begins with Robert Axle (Kevin Spacey) being released from jail after spending eight years behind bars. Axle was once an infomercial king and called himself a “fabricator”, someone who takes the invention of others and makes them into new products.The only issue here is that he “fabricated” an exercise machine/ab cruncher which “ crunched off’ the fingers of its users and a few thousands of people actually found themselves maimed thanks to his faulty machine!
Robert cannot go back to his wife, now ex, because she has re-married and busted most of her money producing a pathetic record.His only option to avoid the homeless shelter is to re-kindle his relationship with his estranged daughter Claire (Camilla Belle) whom he loved but also completely neglected as a child as he was too busy making money. Claire lives in a creaky lovely old wooden house with tasteful furniture and two quirky roommates played by Heather Graham and Anna Anissimova.At first, they aren’t that keen to share the premises with an ex felon. But quite rapidly, Robert becomes part and parcel of the girls lives and he gradually gains confidence again to re-start his career.
There are no major surprise moments in the film and when Kevin Spacey goes and describes to his former business partner, the invention he is thinking of putting together, you find yourself tearing your hair out because it is so obvious that the ex partner will steal his idea.
Camilla Belle is her usual pretty self as Spacey’s down to earth daughter who runs a special centre of employment for women. Socially conscious and kind, she is the opposite of her materialistic father.
However, it is unfortunate that at times, she seems awfully bland and just floats around in hippy chic clothes. Belle is still very young and her acting career did not begin such a long time ago, but if would be wise for her to seek some sound advise in her film choices. We can excuse her on this one though because very few actresses would have resisted the temptation of acting alongside Kevin Spacey. In his case, he probably wanted to leave aside his intense,slightly crooked roles which he is so good at. And even here, as this failed “ fabricator” Spacey manages to be funny, touching and terribly annoying though some of the characters surrounding him seem way crazier!
Heather Graham who comes as the lesbian gym teacher roommate is quite good in her supporting role and Virginia Madsen as the ex wife is seriously funny.
On one of those days when traffic and rain have made your journey back home longer than usual and exhausted you, pop this movie into your DVD player and relax.