Mr. Movie

Lots of 'Flash,' not much 'Genius'

A friend told me that Greg Kinnear made an appearance pushing Flash of Genius on the TV talk show The View.

He told the hosts that the script sat on his desk for a long time because he thought it was the story of a superhero window washer.

That might have made a better movie. It certainly would have moved faster and had more action than Flash of Genius.

It’s the classic story of David vs. Goliath, big business and big bucks trying to stomp the little guy into submission.

Kinnear’s Bob Kearns invented the intermittent windshield wiper in the late 1960s. Ford stole his idea and tried to convince the legal system that his patents weren’t valid.

The strain of the theft ruined Kearns’ life, career, his marriage and the relationship with his children and friends. It took a dozen years to get the case to court.

The invention dispute arose in 1969. His first lawsuit was filed in 1978 and by 1995, after the Supreme Court ruled, Kearns finally collected his money.

As told by producer turned director Marc Abraham, Kearns’ story has just about as much drama as watching water wiped away on a windshield by his invention. Kinnear--who is in almost every scene--works hard. He runs up and down the emotional ladder from determined to depressed and back to determined.

It’s a lot of work for nothing. The favored gesture to appear to be natural is working with his character’s glasses. On go the glasses, off go the glasses. Heavy sigh. Then on, then off, on, off.

Cut those scenes and the nearly two-hour film gets a much-needed 30-minute trim. Even then there is very little flash and zero genius.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens today at the Carmike 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself