Father of Invention (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Millionaire infomercial guru, Robert Axle (Kevin Spacey) loses everything when one of his inventions has a design flaw that accidentally chops off the fingers of thousands of customers. After serving eight years in prison, a disgraced Axle is released, and ready to redeem his name and rebuild his empire with a new innovation. However, Axle's ex-wife (Virginia Madsen) has spent all of his money and moved into his house with her new husband (Craig Robinson). Out of desperation, he finds a … More

Rating: PG-13 (for sexual material and language)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Trent Cooper, Jonathan D. Krane
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 25, 2011
Anchor Bay Films - Official Site


as Robert Axle

as Troy Coangelo

as Steven Leslie

as Sam Bergman

as Eddie the Ex

as Matt James

as Parole Officer

as Jerry King

as General Store Clerk

as Young Claire (12 Yea...

as Customer at Familyma...

as Handball Kid

as Mom in Park

as Lily's Mother

as Stock Boy

as Bank Teller

as Harold

as Business Man's Date

as Business Man

as Penny Camp

as Howard Camp

as Security Guard

as Young Claire (6 Year...

as Mailbox Patron

as Bingo Caller

as News Anchor

as Mother in Infomercia...

as Claire Axle
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Father of Invention

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (8)

For all its eagerness to please, you'd think Father of Invention could come up with at least one sister of independence.

Full Review… | October 18, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Highly predictable...

Full Review… | October 14, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

Like Graham and Madsen, Spacey too often gets lost in smaller projects that aren't worthy of his talents. He, and his costars, deserve a more inventive movie than this one.

Full Review… | October 14, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The screenplay, by Mr. Cooper and Jonathan D. Krane, is so sketchy that it feels like a hastily executed first draft.

Full Review… | October 13, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

The film promises a nasty little satire for a while but finally goes soft and self-pitying.

Full Review… | October 13, 2011
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Colorless exposition and a lack of imagination or wit stall Father of Invention at the starting gate.

Full Review… | October 12, 2011
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Father of Invention


Robert Axle is a millionaire infomercial guru. His life is going great until one of his products maims thousands of people. After serving around a decade in prison for gross negligence, he returns to the world, only to find his money gone, and his empire in ruins. Before he can rebuild all that however, he must first deal with his nutty ex-wife, and her new lover who is obsessed with him, and rebuild his relationship with his estranged daughter, as well as her man hating roommate, his new boneheaded boss, and the man who has taken over his old company.

This is a star-studded dramedy, and it's pretty decent. It's got a lot of the same old same old in the broad strokes of the plot and themes, but it's definitely the cast and their performances who make it all worth it. Spacey is great as Axle, and it's fun seeing him with goofy facial hair and looking like a bum. Virginia Madsen is okay, but underused as his e. Craig Robinson is fun as her lover, Camilla Belle is okay, but probably the weakest link as Axle's daughter, and then we get an okay, but also underused John Stamos as the business rival, and delightful work from Johnny Knoxville as the boneheaded boss (and he really is solid. I'm serious.) and Heather Graham as the bitchy roommate.

Had the cast not been decent, then this wouldn't be as enjoyable or memorable. I did like it aside from then, but it really isn't all that original. It is fairly well played and decently shot though, so yeah, if you want a good redemption story as well as proof that Knoxville has a bit of chops, then give this a shot.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

This was quite a surprise, especially after seeing so many bad reviews. I really enjoyed this. I have to admit, a good Kevin Spacey film is very rare these days. This one, though, I found very enjoyable. It's funny, but not always laugh out loud funny..more smiles and chuckles, and I like that in a movie. I didn't have high expectations for this one, but it is a wonderful little dramedy, in my opinion..........

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


Light entertainment. Not completely awful, just dreadfully forgettable. Kevin Spacey's likability helps a lot as does Heather Graham's and Johnny Knoxville's but I don't expect to see any of them nominated for anything this year. The story itself isn't horrible either, it just doesn't seem to work, nothing really gels. I watched it on a plane so I didn't feel robbed but I'd be mightily miffed if I'd paid to see it.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Father of Invention Quotes

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