When the best part of your theater experience is one of the trailers beforehand, you know you've just watched a bad film. I found more enjoyment, hilarity and charm in a two minute Toy Story 3 teaser trailer than I did during the whole runtime of Imagine That, the latest travesty to further propel Eddie Murphy into cinematic obscurity.
Murphy plays Evan, a financial executive that has become the type of father who is obsessed with his work and spends little time with his child. One day, he is called out of a meeting to pick up his daughter, Olivia (Yara Shahidi), from school. She has a blanket called a Goo-gah (ugh) that she just can't seem to part with. Inside of her blanket, she has a few imaginary princess friends who apparently have great advice for her father because she seems to know of impending mergers and what companies to invest in. Figuring this out, Evan decides to use Olivia and her blanket to further his career.
A financial executive who crunches numbers and participates in business meetings? Boy, that's a hootenanny. The kids will love that. Imagine That is too childish for adults and it's too focused on the menial tasks required of Evan's job to keep the interest of young children. Who is this movie aiming for?
Who cares? This is one of the most brain deadening films I've seen in a long time. You know those lights in the middle of most theaters that point mid-movie pedestrians in the right direction? I started counting them to see how many there were leading up to my row. There were 23. Coincidentally, left to right, there were 14 1/2 tiles on the ceiling (the last one was cut off halfway). I had more interest in the design of the theater I was sitting in than I did in the film, an obvious bad sign.
As with all films like this where the father is the bad guy, Evan is frank with Olivia because, heaven forbid, he tries to discipline her. What an asshole. All things considered, it's hard to blame him. She won't get rid of her ridiculous blanket and lets out a blood curdling scream when it's taken away, she interrupts him during important business meetings and she draws on his worksheets which are vital to his job. She's a nuisance; a little pest that won't leave him to the work that desperately needs to be done if she ever hopes to get to college. Maybe he wouldn't be so neglectful and he'd have more play time with her if he didn't have to keep her in check because of her misbehavior.
Of course, maybe he was a bit harsh. After all, she needs psychiatric help, not just a hospitable father. She doesn't merely have imaginary friends as many children do. She truly believes her all knowing princess buddies are really there, seeking their comfort under the hidden veil of her blanket rather than confiding in actual friends.
Imagine That goes through the motions with its tired premise. Evan slowly begins to understand that Olivia is the most important thing in his life and the movie eventually climaxes into what could be the single most overused and clichéd ending in cinema history where the dad rushes into his child's school recital, making it just in time and putting a smile on his kid's face. Earlier in the film, Olivia complains about not being able to sing her solo, a rendition of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" and Evan helps her practice. As she stands up there at the end of the movie, frozen in silence, I thought to myself, "If he runs in and starts singing, I'm getting up and leaving." This doesn't happen, but what does is far worse, something so hackneyed that I didn't get up and leave, but rather went into a state of catatonic shock, in such a stupor from the innate idiocy of the movie that my brain had completely shut off in an attempt to commit intellectual suicide, aware of the millions of brain cells dying and wishing only to get the job done faster.
The film is full of harebrained lunacy, including the revelation that the blanket's powers come from Wakayabi (approximate spelling), some type of ancient Indian secret that allows children to see pertinent financial information, which makes total sense because Native Americans were all about financial business mergers. I could go on (and on and on and on), but typing more would be irrelevant. It's like the WNBA. Nobody cares.
I feel like I'm handing out this final score a bit too liberally (seeing as how Land of the Lost received it just last week), but this is a movie review and I'm obliged to give my honest opinion. In doing so, I feel my score is just. Imagine That isn't just bad; it's one of the most inane and trite kids movies I've ever seen.
Imagine That receives 0/5