Imagine That


Directed by: Karey Kirkpatrick
Written by:Ed Solomon, Chris Matheson
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Thomas Haden Church, Yara Shahidi, Ronny Cox, Stephen Root, Martin Sheen
Released: September 17, 2009
Grade: C+

What if I actually liked an Eddie Murphy movie?  Can you imagine that?  I’m struggling to do so.  I’ve never met Eddie personally, nor would I ever expect to.  I’m sure he’s a nice, genuine guy.  He has five kids and I’m guessing that’s why he makes so many family flicks.  He’s just doing what he loves for the people that he loves.

Unfortunately, his movies just aren’t for me.  I don’t want to sound demeaning (although I probably will) but his films appeal to people very different from me.  I like original scripts, creative direction and realistic performances.  If you saw more than 200 films a year, I’d like to think that you’d develop similar tastes.

In this new film, Murphy plays Evan Danielson – a financial adviser who has risen through the ranks at a prestigious company.  His rival within the firm is Johnny Whitefeather (Church), an unorthodox analyst who focuses more on appearances than his client’s portfolios.  It still has Evan feeling a little uneasy – particularly when Johnny starts poaching his own clients.

Evan has spends so much time working that he has little room in his life for anything else.  His wife recently left him and he rarely gets to spend any quality time with his young daughter, Tricia.  That all changes when Tricia’s behaviour becomes concerning.  She spends much of her day with her head under a blanket and talks to invisible friends.  Her teachers at school are worried.

You don’t need to be worried though.  This isn’t a film about a dark, troubled kid.  It becomes rather light-hearted in fact when these invisible friends start providing share market tips which she passes on to her father.  Evan doesn’t believe his daughter at first but he’s quickly convinced when they all come true.  Lo and behold, he starts spending a lot more time with Tricia – but is it because he loves her… or because he is using her?

Imagine That promotes family values and other feel-good stuff but the story is too far-fetched to be taken seriously.  I can’t see many adults finding this entertaining and I worry that kids will find it confusing with all its references to mergers, acquisitions and stock prices.  The film was a huge flop when released in the United States back in June so I know I’m not alone with my opinion.  It made just $16m which wouldn’t even have covered Murphy’s salary.

I haven’t seen some of the other kids flicks on offer but I can confidently proclaim that this should not be your first choice if you’re taking your young ones to the cinema in these school holidays.