Flash of Genius
Who wants to see a movie about the guy who invented the intermittent windshield wiper? Based on a true story, Flash of Genius sees Greg Kinnear play Bob Kearns - a college professor, a sometime inventor and a "particular kind of guy." One of Kearns's inventions is the aforementioned wiper (instead of constantly wiping back and forth, Kearns's wiper is delayed, which gives the driver a safer view of the road) and the idea gets motor giant Ford in a dizzy. Just as he's about to sign the deal Ford backs out of the deal at the 11th hour, much to Bob's dismay. However, when Bob notices cars driving around with his wiper he decides to sue the motor company in a case that changes patent law. It doesn't sound very exciting and in truth Flash of Genius rarely is, but Kinnear's everyman persona never fails to get the viewer onside, even though it looks like Kearns wasn't the easiest guy in the world to get along with. Kearns is an ethical man - "This isn't about money, it's about right and wrong" - but the film asks the audience how important are ethics and principals if they destroys those closest to you? In plots like these - one man and his dream - there is usually an unsupportive wife to add a little home drama and Lauren Graham fills that hole here. As mounting lawyer costs and time spent away from the family divides loyalties, Phyllis becomes increasingly disillusioned with her husband: "This isn't about money, it's about our family!" It feels a token rebuttal as the film is very much in Kearns's corner. A decent effort, Flash of Genius' tendency to stay a steady course makes it forgettable.
Watch: Flash of Genius
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