Flash of Genius | EW.com

Movies

Flash of Genius The true-story premise of Flash of Genius peddles inspiration in our time of giant, bullying corporations and despairing little guys:...Flash of GeniusDramaPT120MPG-13 The true-story premise of Flash of Genius peddles inspiration in our time of giant, bullying corporations and despairing little guys:...2008-10-03Alan AldaDermot MulroneyAlan Alda, Dermot MulroneyUniversal

(Kerry Hayes)

B-

Flash of Genius

Genre: Drama; Starring: Lauren Graham, Greg Kinnear, Alan Alda, Dermot Mulroney; Director: Marc Abraham; Author: Philip Railsback; Release Date Wide: 10/03/2008; Runtime (in minutes): 120; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Universal

The true-story premise of Flash of Genius peddles inspiration in our time of giant, bullying corporations and despairing little guys: A despairing little guy takes on a giant, bullying corporation for patent infringement and wins. (Oops, did I give away the ending? Sue me.) Played with becoming mildness by Greg Kinnear, Robert Kearns was an engineering professor at a Michigan college who devised the intermittent windshield wiper — the mechanism that allows the driver to adjust the interval between blade swipes. After patenting his plans, he shopped them to the Ford Motor Company without reaching a licensing agreement, and later determined that Ford had stolen his invention. Kearns’ Bleak House-obsessive pursuit of justice — in which he sometimes acted as his own counsel — took 12 years. (The real Kearns, who died in 2005 at the age of 77, sued General Motors and Chrysler, too.)

The individual components of director Marc Abraham’s David-and-Goliath drama are roundly unexceptional; the script, soft and teach-y; the performances, earnest (including Alan Alda as a fair-weather lawyer who bails on the case). But that hardly matters. The product is concept, not execution, and the delivery techniques bear standard Hollywood patents. B?

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