Imagine That Review: Murphy’s Bore
Back in Year 8 English Literature while studying Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you might have come across something called “willing suspension of disbelief”.
Teacher would encourage you to put logic and rationality aside in order to enjoy the bard’s great work and all its fruits.
There was no need to question Bottom’s ass head.
Until now, never has disbelief had to be suspended by such a degree.
The writing duo behind Bill and Ted bring us Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy as financial executive (already, aren’t you convinced?) Evan Danielson. Evan is eternally chained to his Blackberry, all stocks, bonds and silk ties with no time for his seven-year-old security blanket-carrying daughter Olivia who, alas, he is a stranger to.
Hang on, Eddie Murphy has a kid? Social services…
But when he is holed up with her for a week, he discovers her imaginary world, residing in which are some stock-savvy princesses which happily give him tip-offs as to where to invest and save his career from crashing. So he and Olivia bond or something.
We are forced to endure watching father and daughter embark on their convoluted quest to the imaginary Wall Street gurus in a range of sequences so goosebump-makingly cringeworthy, so gut-wrenchingly pitiful, that Imagine That steals the award from Antichrist as the most visceral cinematic experience of the year.
Evan’s new-found success at the office however leaves him neglecting Olivia again. We watch his dilemma of priorities as story “developments” are hurriedly and clumsily thrown in for some much needed plot texture. The dialogue that carries the story along is so trite, so unconvincing that it borders on insulting.
As a result, it’s impossible to empathise with our characters’ predicaments. The idea of a magical purple security blanket on its own is outlandish enough without having to add insult to injury by installing Murphy as a credible business associate and family man.
Murphy’s trademark shrill-voiced-no-eyes-all-teeth routine is very much present throughout, though carrying an air of desperation now. It seems to scream for approval. It’s been 25 years Eddie, is that all you have on your acting face arsenal?
Thomas Haden Church as Danielson’s arch rival Johnny Whitefeather almost makes the flick watchable, having a few decent one-liners but they just don’t stand up without adequate comedic foreplay.
Perhaps Murphy’s doing penance for being such a scumbag to Scary Spice. We should expect a good 25 to life of utter jizz. Looks like he’s going to need a magical blanket of his own to save his acting career.
Avoid at all costs.