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Invisible Sign, An (DVD Review)

30 Oct, 2011 By: John Latchem

Street 11/1/11
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
‘PG-13’ for mature thematic material and some disturbing images.
Stars Jessica Alba, Chris Messina, J.K. Simmons, Sonia Braga, Sophie Nyweide, Bailee Madison, John Shea.

As a child, Mona Gray (Jessica Alba) made a deal with the universe to heal her father, a mathematician who passed along his love of numbers. She sacrifices anything pleasurable or fun in hopes that karma would look kindly on her, taking comfort in a blanket of invisible numbers that surround her. Of course, he doesn’t get better because what’s wrong with him is that he’s crazy, which is probably a genetic trait that explains her bizarre outlook on life.

She grows into a shy loner who retreats from the world, until her mother kicks her out of the house and sets her up with a job as a math teacher at a local school that apparently doesn’t do background checks or actually teach anything useful. Despite her beautiful mind, she’s clearly in over her head, but that’s OK because the laws of film tell us her students will help her come out of her shell, as will the science teacher who is smitten with her because, well, she looks like Jessica Alba.

The part is well suited for Alba, who’s not the best actress around but is effectively meek in a role that doesn’t require her to talk very much.

There’s a certain charm in the film’s half-developed view of reality, allowing it to set up its characters and story like a quirky Rube Goldberg device timed to go off in the third act, resulting in a saccharine payoff that should make us all appreciate our own lives just a little more.

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