Parents' Guide to

Father of Invention

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Awful Kevin Spacey comedy has strong language, no laughs.

Movie PG-13 2011 93 minutes
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Kids say (2):

This is a remarkably unfunny film. For a so-called comedy, there are virtually no laughs save for a couple of forgettable one-liners from Craig Robinson, who plays Robert's ex-wife's new husband. Spacey is given free rein to chew up the scenery in salesman mode, but his character is so pathetic he's hard to root for or care about in any way. His relationship with Phoebe is predictable and cringe-worthy (although Graham's portrayal of the stereotypical lesbian gym teacher is amusing for at least a couple of scenes).

It's hard to watch such a capable cast in such a disappointing project, but it just goes to show that even a talented ensemble can't save a film from an underwhelming script and formulaic plot. The premise couldn't be more relevant -- particularly after two infomercial kings have died tragically shrouded in controversy -- but the story is about as sophisticated as Snuggie. It's too bad a director like Jason Reitman didn't tackle the subject; it would have been infinitely better than Trent Cooper's laughable attempt.

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