We indulge in quick fixes for a myriad of inconveniences, more so we want someone with a winning smile to sell them to us. The implications, or even the people behind these ideas, the people who have a vision, and with a bit of capital, can bulk the gullible out of millions, make for some fascinating tales, even if they’re mostly fantasy. In 2010, an intriguing tale of redemption and the act of reinvention will make fine use of the resourcefulness of its stars, in telling the story of the Father of Invention.
When disgraced millionaire, Robert Axle, is released from prison after all his products end up harming people. Axle is back or at least attempting to get back, but a lack of resources and a killer idea (no pun intended) are holding his renewed carer back. Working at a discount store with strict conditions and minimal pay. In attempting to reinvent his life, Axle must make amends and come up with a new product to reclaim his fortune. While also mending the bridges with his estranged daughter, Claire, and the curious cast of roommates that live with her. Can the Father of Invention successfully reinvent his life, and win back the trust of the people around him?
The concept is intriguing, to say the least, offering a wide buffet of emotions. Father of Invention knows how to extract some comedy out of the product’s haphazard usage. The remainder of the film’s emotional core lies on the shoulders of Axle and his attempts to reunite with his estranged daughter and craft a new idea to get him back to the top. This egotistical inventor goes on a humbling journey to reinvent himself (kind of ironic considering the career trajectory of its star). But the first step is getting people on board, and that includes Claire and her roommates, who may find themselves also reinvented in the process.
For a film of this calibre, it’s certainly impressive how much of a well-recognized group of actors the cast is, with names including Heather Graham, Johnny Knoxville and Virginia Madsen among others also star in this peculiar comedy. With Madsen playing Axle’s status-obsessed ex-wife, and Heather Graham playing Phoebe, who initially despises Axel yet, throughout the film, may develop a relationship with her new housemate, Axle (despite her orientation). Adding to the uncomfortable situation of Claire; already bitter over Axle’s poor parenting choices in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. The confrontational relationship with the store manager and Axle is fun, utilising Knoxville’s talents beyond hurting himself. As are the returning faces, Axle will work with on his attempts to rebuild his career, equating to a fun character study for The Father of Invention.
Father of Invention is a fine tale, not one I would normally seek out, but am pleased with my time with it. With a lot more heart in front of the humour, this isn’t going to be a typical drama, nor a comedy, but an intriguing fusion of both. Its gifted cast does a lot to help this fun and fictional story. It certainly knows how to sell its premise, but that is to be expected, with a name father of invention, could you ask for anything less innovative?
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