Imagine That is a movie with surprising emotional intelligence. But aside from the illogic of its plot, it also seems to miss the mark in terms of who it thinks its audience will be.
The film, directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, stars Eddie Murphy and comes out of the Nickelodeon stable. But it's not silly enough for the 8-year-old audience or smart-aleck enough for tweens. Plus it deals with complex issues -- the importance of the parent-child bond, the stress that divorce creates on that bond. Fun for the whole family.
Murphy plays Evan, a Denver investment broker obsessed with beating his chief competitor at his firm John Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church). But as a divorced dad, Evan has custody of his young daughter, Olivia (Yara Shahidi) during a particularly busy week at work.
Olivia can't live without her blankie, called the Goo-Gaw, which causes problems at school. The Goo-Gaw is also her portal to a magic world of imaginary friends -- princesses and a queen -- none of which registers with Evan, except as an annoyance.
At least not until the princesses start telling him -- through Olivia -- which companies to invest in and which to avoid -- and turn out to be right. Before long, he's crushing Whitefeather (who lays the Native American shtick on thick) and spending all his spare time playing make-believe with Olivia to get those investing tips. But at a crucial moment, Olivia and the Goo-Gaw aren't available to help. Now what?
Or perhaps, just plain: What? The point here is that, in trying to exploit his daughter, he learns instead how to play with and talk to her for the first time. That, in turn, leads him to a realization about what really matters in life. That's all good.
But ultimately you come back to this point: This high-powered investment broker has been making recommendations based on the fanciful pronouncements of an 8-year-old.
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