Flash of Genius

Greg Kinnear stars in this crowd-pleaser about Robert Kearns, who invented the intermittent windshield wiper and waged a decades-long legal battle against the auto industry for stealing his invention. In the course of the movie Kearns manages to lose his family, his friends, and apparently his sanity before he puts his life back together and launches one last legal assault on the corporate Goliaths. The cast is excellent—especially Kinnear, who's perfected his wounded everyman persona—and Marc Abraham's direction is elegant and understated. But their work is seriously undermined by the skeletal script, which barely develops the characters and unintentionally raises more questions about Kearns's quixotic battle than it answers. With Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, and Alan Alda. PG-13, 119 min.

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