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Father of Invention Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

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

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Village Voice Nick Pinkerton

    The rather unappealing character of Axel is indulged with every opportunity for redemption, as Spacey is indulged with every opportunity to showboat.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Comedies don't get much more unfunny than Father of Invention, a lame and somewhat preachy comic take on a father trying to get back into his daughter's good graces.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Variety Ronnie Scheib

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

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Awful Kevin Spacey comedy has strong language, no laughs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this independent comedy follows Kevin Spacey as a disgraced inventor of infomercial goods. There's nothing particularly compelling in the plot to attract younger audiences, although some teens might be interested in seeing MTV star Johnny Knoxville or Joe Jonas' ex Camilla Belle. There are some mature themes in the movie -- about fraud, parent-child relationships, money squandering -- but the sexuality is limited to a couple of kisses and references to lesbian sex and second husbands, and the language is standard PG-13 fare like "a--hole" and "s--t." There aren't too many life lessons to be learned, but on the bright side viewers will be very unlikely to buy anything "as seen on TV" in the near future.

  • Families can talk about how consumerism is depicted in the movie. Do audiences really need the items Axle was creating? How does he convince them to buy the stuff? Do we do that in our own lives as shoppers?
  • What is the movie's message about balancing work and family? How did Axle's first try at success affect his relationship with his daughter? How does he change after his release from prison?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: One good message of the movie is that it's never too late to reconcile with your family and turn your life around. Audiences will likely think twice about their purchases, particularly for anything "as seen on TV."

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Claire loves her father unconditionally and just wants have a genuine relationship with him, whether he's rich or poor. Axle, on the other hand, is pretty much a con man.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: When he's recognized after escaping prison, Axle is chased and beat up by an unhappy customer. In a slapstick sequence, Johnny Knoxville slides into a store display and falls pretty spectacularly. A woman stands on her windowsill and threatens to jump if her daughter doesn't forgive her, but it's played for laughs, not violence.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A couple of kisses and some on-going references to lesbian sex, dating, and a man who's "humping" Robert's ex-wife.

  • language false3

    Language: Regularly used language includes "a--hole," "bulls--t," "s--t," "balls," "dick," "douche," "damn," and "ass."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A few prominent brands include Apple computers, Rockband 2 video game, and the Subaru Outback.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults drink at dinner and a reception.