Veteran producer Marc Abraham makes his feature film debut with FLASH OF GENIUS, based on a true story set in Detroit and spanning multiple decades. Dr. Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear) has a good life. A respected college professor who teaches electrical engineering, he has a lovely wife (Lauren Graham) and six great kids. But first and foremost, Kearns is an inventor. In 1967, he built the intermittent windshield wiper, dubbing it 'Kearns' Blinking Eye', and ultimately shared his patented specs with Ford Motor Company so that he could manufacture the wipers for them. Then he spends his life trying to get Ford to admit that they stole his idea when he spots his invention on Ford cars after they bail out of the deal with him. Kearns isn't after money. In taking on one of the most powerful corporations in America, if not the world, Kearns wants Ford to tell the truth and give credit where credit is due. At the same time, he wants to protect the patent process for every inventor.
Kinnear gives a nuanced performance as Kearns, a quirky, church-going family man and professor who slowly descends into paranoia and obsession with reaching his goals. Graham fits the bill as a loving but independent wife and mother who finds herself competing with her husband's quest. Dermot Mulroney is solid as Kearns's childhood friend and early business partner. And it's a treat to see Alan Alda as a justice-seeking lawyer who may or not be able to live up to Kearns's high expectations. FLASH OF GENIUS is based on a John Seabrook article that appeared in The New Yorker in 1993, and his later book of the same name.