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Imagine Me & You

Fox // R // June 27, 2006
List Price: $27.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Cornelius | posted June 14, 2006 | E-mail the Author
By the time "Imagine Me & You" has sunken to sub-par romcom cliché for its finale, we actually don't mind so much. This is because everything that comes before, while familiar, is instantly endearing and endlessly likeable, so if the movie wants to indulge in a little ungainly cheese to help wrap things up, then sure, we might agree that it's not the best choice, but we'll let it slide.

The film, written and directed by Ol Parker, sticks fairly closely to the Richard Curtis floor plan: quaint Brits fall in love, act quirky, etc.; the aforementioned iffy finale even copies both "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually" in its one-character-races-after-another-to-profess-love-ness. Twist number one is that our heroine falls in love with someone, but not until right after she gets married to someone else. Twist number two is that the someone in question is also a woman.

Rachel (Piper Perabo, in a surprisingly convincing Brit accent) and Heck (Matthew Goode) are a deliriously happy couple hitched in the opening scene. It's at the wedding that they meet Luce (Lena Heady), their florist; there's an immediate connection between the two ladies, although they don't quite realize it yet, what with Rachel being so happy with Heck and all.

In fact, the script isn't so anxious to jump into this romance, as it wants to deal first with the consequences of ruining one relationship just to build another. Much screen time is devoted to the Baxter of our story, Heck, who is of course a very nice fellow but also gets to reveal the effects of seeing his wife leave him. It's a tightrope - play out this chipper, giddy romantic comedy but do not avoid the darker, more real aspects of such a tale. Parker handles the balance quite well.

No so successful is Parker's delivery of the more oddball aspects of such a story. In an attempt to get a handle on that old British eccentricity that fills such similar movies, we get an awful lot of hit-and-miss. On target is the character of Rachel's rambling father, played by Anthony Head in a delirious bit of semi-insanity ("I love the smell of hot dog in the evening. Smells like… hot dog.") that also manages to infuse a pinch of depth to the proceedings when least expected. Less successful, yet still quaint, is H (Boo Jackson), Rachel's little sister; she bombards the other characters with so many questions about random things that you can't help but think "Jerry Maguire." Only an adorable performance rescues the character from cheap gimmickry.

The running gag of offbeat customers popping into Luce's flower shop throughout the picture is on the "miss" side of the spectrum. This is the sign of Parker trying too hard to fill every moment with something cute and memorable. Considering how often the main plot hinges on formula, you'd wish Parker would've spent more time pushing away from cliché and less time thinking up new punchlines for a joke that doesn't always fly.

But it's all so forgivable, I suppose, because it's all so lovable. There's a sweetness that hangs over every scene (whether the scene works or not), and these characters are so charming that we can't help but smile. Perabo and Headey have a sharp connection on screen, which helps gel this romance into something that works. "Imagine Me & You" isn't nearly as solid as the British comedies it seeks to emulate, but it's just about as enchanting.



Fox's release of "Imagine Me & You" is a flipper disc with an anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) presentation on one side and a cropped pan-and-scan presentation on the other. The transfer is as sharp and attractive as one would expect from a recent production.


Dolby 5.1 surround, crisp and lively. A Spanish surround track is also available, as are optional subtitles in Spanish, French, and English.


The commentary from Parker is highly enjoyable, mostly in part to his humility - he's quick to point out flaws in the picture and ends the chat by admitting that he'd probably do a lot of it quite differently if given a second time around. He also has great affection for the story and the cast and crew, and the fact that he obviously had a great time making this movie shows.

Parker's voice also appears in a three-minute "director's statement," in which he details the inspiration for his story and expresses a few thoughts on the nature of love at first sight. This statement is read over clips from the film, so some of you may wish to save it until after you've watched the feature.

Four extended/deleted scenes are included, with the option to watch them with or without an introduction and commentary by Parker. For a change, these are deleted moments that are actually worth checking out.

A Q&A session features twenty minutes of interviews with Parker, Perabo and Headey (sharing interview time), and Goode. These interviews have been produced directly for the DVD and seem to have been shot during the movie's publicity junket (they all mention giving other interviews the same day). Surprisingly, this does not result in typical EPK fluff, as the interviews get a little deeper than expected. While a bit dry in spots, these are worth a peek.

The pan-and-scan side of the disc starts up by playing a trailer for "Thank You For Smoking" (presented in flat letterbox). No trailers appear on the widescreen side.

Note: All features (except where noted) are presented in anamorphic widescreen.

Final Thoughts

All too by-the-numbers, "Imagine Me & You" overcomes its own formulaic nature and becomes so very winning. I found myself smiling through a great deal of the film, as snappy writing and spot-on performances from a terrific cast help the movie avoid all the pitfalls of cliché. If you're in the mood for some light romance, this one comes Recommended.
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