PG for some mild language and brief questionable behavior.
June 12, 2009
Eddie Murphy, Thomas Haden Church, Nicole Ari Parker, Ronny Cox, Martin Sheen
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By Hannah Goodwyn
- Just in time for the Father’s Day celebration season, Imagine That is a heart-warming film about Evan Danielson, a workaholic dad who learns what is truly important in life straight by spending more time with his daughter Olivia.
The Movie in a Minute
Evan thought his job as a financial exec was the most important one in his life. Wrong. His 7-year-old, adorable daughter Olivia’s week-long stay at his place calls his current priorities into question. With a new promotion on the table at the office, Evan knows he has to work even harder to get what he wants. Olivia is, at first, a distraction. That is until he realizes she holds the key to figuring out the latest market matters – Olivia's security blanket. He must eventually decide which job is more important – high-powered money man or dad.
The Good and the Bad
From the get-go, little Olivia (played by Yara Shahidi) tells the story. As narrator, she familiarizes the audience with her world, one she sees as a kingdom, with her father as a man who wants to be king. Kudos to the director and team for creating an opening to the film that introduced the story and characters so well.
This young starlet has a future ahead of her in showbiz, that's for sure. Shahidi played the role brilliantly. Not being outcast by her co-star Eddie Murphy, Shahidi brought humor and seriousness to the character when needed. She was on point. Her co-star Daniel Polo, who plays Murphy’s nemesis’ son, steals the show when he’s on screen. Capturing the attention of everyone in the audience, Polo delivers one of the funniest scenes in the movie as his father makes him go on a vision quest in his backyard.
Eddie Murphy and Thomas Haden Church (arch-nemesis, guy “who wants to steal [Evan’s] crown”) were great in these roles. Murphy solidifies himself once again as the funny man, giving the audience some laughs throughout the movie (including the funny, yet endearing pancake scene). Church plays Johnny Whitefeather, a rival finance exec vying for the same promotion as Murphy’s character, who impresses his clients by using ridiculous sayings from his Native American heritage. His humor is annoyingly funny.
Unfortunately, some may write Imagine That off as just another father/daughter movie we’ve seen before (The Game Plan). Although the storyline has a bit of imagination weaved through the plot, it is on a whole predictable. It all just seems a little too familiar: Father works too much. Disregards kid. Learns how to love kid. Almost loses relationship with kid. Wins kid’s love again. Happy ending.
The “magic” blanket, called Googaa, is another concern. Central to the relationship between Olivia and her father is this powerful blanket. Evan begins to use it as a why to access financial wisdom from Olivia’s imaginary friends who live in an enchanted kingdom. Believing in the power of this blanket, Evan and Olivia visit this far-away world on occasion. At the end of the movie, when Evan and Olivia re-unite they wave good-bye to these “friends” as a rustling through the trees suggest the “magic” was real. Johnny Whitefeather speaks of this “magic” in one scene explaining that in his culture a tapestry, like this Googaa, was a way to access the Higher Eye, a great spirit.
The Final Verdict
Imagine That is a kid-friendly movie. It's fairly clean, funny, and sweet. If parents explain to their littlest ones about the "magic" blanket, then this underlying theme shouldn't be a problem.
Hannah Goodwyn serves as a producer for CBN.com. For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.
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