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Review: 'Ingenious' offers a pre-star Jeremy Renner

The 'Hurt Locker' actor and Dallas Roberts play friends who invent and sell gadgets, but the film's structure is uneven.

November 08, 2012|By Mark Olsen
  • "Ingenious" finally sees release thanks in no small part to the risen fortunes of Jeremy Renner.
"Ingenious" finally sees release thanks in no small part to… (Getty Images )

After kicking around the festival circuit for a few years, "Ingenious" finally sees release thanks in no small part to the risen fortunes of Jeremy Renner. Now, of course, Renner is a star in the Jason Bourne and "Avengers" action franchises, but before his Oscar-nominated turn in "The Hurt Locker," he was more or less a less a largely unknown working actor.

Directed by Jeff Balsmeyer from a script by Mike Cram and based on a true story, the film is the tale of two friends, one an inventor (Dallas Roberts, himself a capable, underrated talent), the other a half-cocked salesman (Renner).

The buddies have never quite managed to hit the jackpot with the novelty gadgets they are constantly hawking. Until one really does catch on.

Roberts and Renner make for a compelling pair, and the film features strong supporting performances by Ayelet Zurer and Marguerite Moreau as the women in their lives, helping to humanize the pair of get-rich-quick schemers or others in their orbit.

But the storytelling is wildly uneven, with an off-balance structure that leaves the ending feeling abrupt and rushed. Whatever other Renner B-sides are floating around out there, let's hope they feel a little more genius than "Ingenious."

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"Ingenious." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. At the Chinese 6 Theatres, Hollywood.

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