Imagine That (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/08/2009

One out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

A spectacularly misguided, badly written and painfully unfunny comedy that falls flat on every conceivable level.

What's it all about?
Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, Imagine That stars Eddie Murphy as Evan Danielson, a divorced, workaholic investment advisor who doesn't spend enough time with his young daughter, Olivia (Yara Shahidi). When his boss (Ronny Cox) pits Evan against arch-rival Johnny Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church) for a big promotion, Evan is shocked to discover that Olivia's imaginary friends are actually offering sound investment advice, so he starts spending more time with her in order to succeed at work.

The Good
Murphy does a watered-down version of his usual schtick but remains watchable, while Shahidi is almost (but not quite) cute enough to make you forget the awful premise. At least Martin Sheen (as the client they're trying to impress) has the decency to look embarrassed by this nonsense.

In addition, there are two slightly interesting things about the film: the first is that Kirkpatrick takes the surprisingly brave decision to not actually show Olivia's imaginary world and the second is that the soundtrack includes several Beatles covers (one of which is used for a supposedly emotional school concert climax), which is something of a rarity. Maybe they blew the effects budget on the music rights?

The Bad
If the synopsis doesn't give you an idea of the sort of soulless rubbish this is, then rest assured that this is utterly dreadful, even by the already low standards of the 'You should spend more time with your kids' genre (see also: Daddy Day Care). It's bad enough that, in these troubled times, the film asks you to root for a money-hungry investment advisor, but the idea that Evan is essentially exploiting his daughter's love for financial gain seems spectacularly misguided.

On top of that, the Thomas Haden Church character (who dresses up Native American wisdom as investment advice) borders heavily on offensive stereotyping, despite a last-minute revelation that is meant to make it all alright. However, the film's biggest problems are that it simply isn't funny and that it completely fails to hit any of its emotional buttons.

Worth seeing?
Imagine That is a poorly conceived, badly written film that's both painfully unfunny and borderline offensive. Avoid like your life depended on it.

Film Trailer

Imagine That (PG)
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Content updated: 17/07/2018 14:40

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