Imagine That

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Eddie Murphy in Imagine That
Eddie Murphy in Imagine That

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Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick. Starring Eddie Murphy, Yara Shahidi, and Thomas Haden Church. Rated PG.

Eddie Murphy is a Denver investment consultant, Evan, with a workaholic schedule that leaves little space for 7-year-old daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi). Adding to his pressures is the meteoric rise of a co-worker, shtick Native American "Whitefeather," whose financial consultations come couched in pseudo-mysticism and PowerPoint razzle-dazzle (played by Thomas Haden Church, fitfully amusing, with characterization and makeup owing much to Phil Hartman's SNL Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer). Evan's interest in parent-child bonding spikes when Olivia becomes a medium for clairvoyant insights into international business trends via her imaginary friends. On the surface, the idea of combining Bloomberg terminals, market jargon, and childlike fancy seems counterintuitive. That's because it is. But Imagine That does get a crowd tearing up on cue for its emotional climax; as much as it works, it's through the personal charm of Murphy and Shahidi. Strikes against include godawful Beatles covers, over-reliance on the hilarity of grownups in suits saying "poop," and obtrusive Red Bull product placement — the beverage company might as well begin producing films itself after this and Yes Man. If memory serves, youngsters like whatever movie you drop them at, but for the record, Drop Dead Fred remains the vastly superior film.

 
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