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Father of Invention (2011)



Average Rating: 4.2/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 7

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 2,238

My Rating

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


Drama, Comedy

Trent Cooper, Jonathan D. Krane

Oct 25, 2011

Anchor Bay Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (0) | Rotten (15) | DVD (2)

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

October 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Highly predictable...

October 14, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 14, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 13, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Father of Invention is not without its comic moments. Unfortunately, they take place during the end credits.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Though it's got a few good ideas going for it, Father of Invention doesn't seem to know what kind of movie it wants to be.

January 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Ebert Presents At The Movies

Kevin Spacey gives a typically soulful performance, but otherwise the film falls far short of being as inventive or confident as its main character.

October 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

A weird and fitfully fresh comedy with a name-heavy cast that almost methodically fumbles away a viewer's engagement, leaving them with thoughts of what could have been.

October 17, 2011 Full Review Source:

In trying to send audiences out of the theater uplifted, Father of Invention instead leaves us sadly shaking our heads about how much better the movie could have been.

October 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Television Without Pity
Television Without Pity

A floundering comedy with banal messages about putting family first.

October 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

An effort drawn to mediocrity, ignoring wonderful comedic opportunities to make yet another relationship story between a humiliated father and his distrustful daughter.

October 12, 2011 Full Review Source:

Wears its convictions about deception, creativity, and the importance of being a really good daddy on its shopworn sleeves.

October 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

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.
February 13, 2013
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..........
September 5, 2012

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.
July 16, 2012

Super Reviewer

Cast:Kevin Spacey, Camilla Belle, Heather Graham, Virginia Madsen, John Stamos, Michael Rosenbaum, Johnny Knoxville, Craig Robinson, Rhoda Griffis, Anna Anissimova

Director:Trent Cooper

Summary: Robert Axle (Kevin Spacey) is a humble, if eccentric, genius whose flair for invention catapults him to fame, fortune and insufferable egomania, until a terrible incident involving one of his creations brings him crashing back to earth and into prison. Nearly a decade later, Axle is released, and he's determined to rehabilitate his reputation and rebuild his fortune. First, he has to convince his daughter that he's worthy of a second chance.

My Thoughts: "A nice daughter and father dramedy. Not the best I've seen come from Kevin Spacey, but being a huge fan I'm down to watch anything he is in. I thought he did great with the material he was given. The relationship between Robert Axle and his daughter Claire is rough but has it's sweet spots. I actually really liked Heather Graham in the movie. She was very funny. Johnny Knoxville does great playing Oswald, a bit of an annoying character, but yet funny as well. Truthfully the movie really wasn't that funny, it was more of a drama to me, but it had it's moments. Worth seeing at least once."
November 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

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