Imagine That

"Weak"

Imagine That Review


Undemanding audiences may warm to the strong cast and crew of this family comedy, even though it's yet another example of a movie that's had all the life sucked out of it by the Hollywood studio system. In the end it isn't very funny, clever or engaging.

Evan (Murphy) is a high-flying financial executive who's not as attentive to his perky daughter Olivia (Shahidi) as he should be. Sharing custody with his ex (Parker), he only barely hears what Olivia says, and is shocked to discover that her imaginary friends are giving sound investment advice. So he starts using their tips at work, which both improves his job prospects and his relationship with Olivia. But this comes undone when his boss (Cox) offers a prime promotion to either him or his smarmy office rival (Church).

Director Kirkpatrick (Over the Hedge) films this in that anonymous style that offers little insight into the characters, although at least he has the nerve not to portray Olivia's fantasy world on screen. Meanwhile, the script by Solomon (Men in Black) and Matheson (Bill & Ted) barely generates either a sense of wonder or any connection between the characters. Every scene feels contrived, as good actors bounce against each other as if they're playing opposite a green screen. So when it strains for emotional resonance, it's almost painfully formulaic.

That isn't to say it's unwatchable. Murphy is always enjoyable on screen, and throws himself into the physical comedy sequences with some of that former exuberance. His scenes with Shahidi are extremely cute, and his interaction with Church prickles and snaps. But in the end, this character could be played, exactly as written, by absolutely anyone. He has no discernible personality; you could easily imagine Will Ferrell in the same role. Or Amy Adams.

This lack of anything even remotely specific is a big problem. Even the corny Native American humour is so half-hearted that it can't really be called offensive. And the timing of this film couldn't be much worse, as audiences are probably incapable of caring if big-money investors (like the one played by Sheen) strike it rich. Which kind of undermines the shamelessly emotional finale.



Imagine That

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th June 2009

Box Office USA: $16.1M

Budget: $55M

Distributed by: Paramount Studios

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, Goldcrest Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 69

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Evan Danielson, as Johnny Whitefeather, as Olivia Danielson, as Tom Stevens, as Noah Kulick, as Tricia Danielson, as John Strother, as Dante D'Enzo, Timm Sharp as Tod, Daniel Polo as Indigo Whitefeather, as Fred Franklin, as Carl Simons, as Miss Davis, as Fo Fo Figgleys Kid, Michael McMillen as Brock Pressman, Catherine McGoohan as Mrs. Pressman, James Patrick Stuart as Mr. Pratt, Jeff Kosloski as Evan's Neighbor, as John Strother, as Lori Strother

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