Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Flash of Genius (Marc Abraham, 2008)

Fairly corny, and certainly predictable, Marc Abraham’s underdog drama Flash of Genius features Greg Kinnear as Dennis Kearns, inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper. Covering a dozen years on Kearns’ life, the film sees him standing up, supposedly for little-guy inventors everywhere, against the rotten thieves at Ford Motor Company. It’s difficult who could possibly root against this family man, but the movie proceeds like there’s some level of suspense present.

Part of the problem with the film is that Kinnear simply isn’t what the role requires. Perfect for everyman roles (see his fine work in the recent Little Miss Sunshine and Fast Food Nation), the actor lacks the range to make his portrayal of Kearns as complex as the other characters seem to imply he is. Time and again, we hear what a difficult, stubborn man Kearns is, but all evidence of this on screen is lost behind Kinnear’s baby face. The one actor who does shine, at least for the ten minutes that he’s on screen, however, is Alan Alda. In a small character role similar to the one he played in The Aviator, Alda manages to command the movie. Playing a shrewd lawyer, he’s given no back story by the script, yet he radiates a level authenticity that is absent in the rest of the Flash of Genius.

Rating: 39/100


Anonymous said...'ve had 850 views since 2005. Thats like 240 a year. Thats like 20 a month. Thats like less than one a day......
May be time to hang this 'writing' thing up?

A friend.

D said...


Greg Kinnear's portrayal is of my father Bob Kearns.

I think Greg did a excellent job of capturing the man I knew for 50 years.

Dennis Kearns