Imagine That

2 out of 5 stars
DRAWN AND QUARTERLY Murphy's report is rather sketchy.
DRAWN AND QUARTERLY Murphy’s report is rather sketchy.

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

“He used to be a king,” Olivia (Shahidi) says of her dad, Evan (Murphy), in the opening moments of Imagine That. King of what? “Nowhereland.” Which is to say Evan’s a harried financial executive, and this is another loathsome family comedy in which a busy father is made to feel like a horrible parent until he abandons earning money and conforms to his child’s every whim. This kind of ritual castration is a mainstay of such kid-friendly fare, and it has extra venom here given the current financial meltdown (unmentioned but unavoidable).

The plot—high-concept whimsy wherein Olivia’s blanket and imaginary friends give awesome financial advice, bringing Evan closer to his daughter when he reaps the benefit of their wisdom—is no big deal. Youngsters will probably be fine with Eddie Murphy’s unamusing mugging and “Hakuna matata” quoting; for dads, it’s undoubtedly grating that the big meeting is always scheduled against the school concert. Responsible parenting is apparently the willingness to look like an idiot in public and driving recklessly to make it to school on time. Only Thomas Haden Church emerges with any credit, as a shifty Native American adviser who thanks investors for “letting me bring my venison to your potlatch.”—Vadim Rizov

Opens Fri.

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