Flash of Genius (PG-13)

Drama 119 October 3, 2008
By Robert Wilonsky
The big-screen version of inventor Robert Kearns’s legal battles with Ford and Chrysler—both of whom nicked his intermittent windshield wiper without giving him credit, much less paying a cent—is about as exciting as Kearns’s Wikipedia entry. Greg Kinnear, usually kinetic, is unusually (and unbearably) dull in producer turned director Marc Abraham’s telling of Kearns’s years-long fight to regain his good name, even as Ford finally offers millions to get him to scram. Is Kearns mad or just angry? Hard to say, as the filmmaker and actor can’t get a handle on a man obsessed with windshield wipers and the attendant credit that’s rightfully his. The movie’s so even-keeled that even the cast—including Lauren Graham as the tolerant wife who suddenly snaps and then just vanishes altogether—seems to be getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepy as it winds its way toward a courtroom showdown that’s more slowdown. You know how it’ll all end—Hollywood doesn’t make movies in which Goliath trounces David, especially when he’s Greg Kinnear—so all you’re left with are windshield wipers, going back and forth . . . and back and forth . . . and back and forth . . .
Marc Abraham Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda Philip Railsback, John Seabrook Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Michael Lieber Universal Pictures


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