Imagine Me & You

It's fascinating watching the career of Piper Perabo. After roles in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Coyote Ugly, it looked like she was headed upwards quickly. Instead, she dropped off the radar of nearly everybody, and did Lost & Delirious, a role that proved she could act but probably horrified the parents of any of her young female fans that dragged them to watch the film. Perabo seems to choose roles randomly. The films and roles (and unfortunately sometimes her performances) are all over the place. Slap Her...She's French almost made it into theaters before it was pulled, then she followed that up with Cheaper by the Dozen, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and tried a lame monster move with The Cave. Imagine Me & You could show an interesting trend - Perabo's best roles have been lesbian. And her British accent here is just capital!

The movie is basically a generic romantic comedy with a few twists, the main one being it is between two women. It feels more in the British vein than America, due partially by the amusing cast of supporting characters. The intelligence level is higher, the characters a few years older ( i.e. it does not take place in high school or college), and the script is a bit wittier, with rapid-fire delivery from the actors. The four leads and smaller supporting characters are all fun to watch, and all of their actions are driven for their desire to keep others happy, not out of spite. Still, nearly all of the conventions and cliches are here. But instead of recycling old formulas, writer/director Ol Parker (It Was An Accident) embraces them, taking the time to focus on what makes them work.

Parker wanted to make a film about falling in love at first sight, and the overpowering nature it can have on somebody.  Rachel catches her glimpse Luce (Lena Headey, The Brothers Grimm, The Cave) as she is walking down the aisle to marry Heck (Matthew Goode, Match Point, Chasing Liberty).  Luce is the wedding florist, and there is an instant attraction between the two.  This meeting is the weakest point in the film, but things eventually get better.  Initially, Rachel feels like they are old friends, but Luce tells Heck and his cad of a friend Coop (Darren Boyd, High Heels and Low Lifes) that she is gay, which prompts Rachel to reexamine her feelings. In a nice change of pace, Imagine Me & You is not really about Rachel examining her sexuality.  The fact that she is attracted to another woman is never really an issue.  The issue is that while she is attracted to Luce, she cares deeply for Heck.

Parker creates a difficult emotional quandary, multiplied by sympathetic characters all around.  Heck knows that something is wrong, and he wants to do everything in his power to save his marriage.  Luce feels an intense attraction to Rachel, yet does not want to ruin a marriage.  For her part, Rachel tries her best to stay away from Luce.  She loves Heck dearly and doesn't want to ruin the marriage, yet feels a magnetic attraction to Luce that keeps drawing her back.  She wants to do the "right" thing, but has no idea what that may be because either way, somebody will get hurt.  Perabo is one of the main reasons why Imagine Me & You works. Her large, soulful eyes are able to capture the roller coaster of emotions that her character, Rachel is undergoing.  Worse, the prospect of a broken marriage and friendship looms, which brings a note of seriousness not typically found in this type of film.  This brings a sense of depth to the plot and the characters, since there is something weightier at stake.  Parker takes the time to have his characters think about their actions and the ramifications of them, again, something not in the norm.  As the end draws closer, Imagine Me & You shifts more towards the cutesy-poo machinations of the genre.  It's fine, because the viewer has such a good sense for who these people really are.  It's enough to make the film put a smile on the face of people watching, but not quite enough to make it a good film.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated R for some language and sexual material.

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