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Imagine That

No Imagination Can Save This

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.

Even as a film aimed at kids, Imagine That lacks any semblance of creative thought. Itís bland, unfunny and, ironically, pretty unimaginative. Itís a childrenís movie that centers on adult action and includes incredibly offensive jokes about Native Americans. To the chagrin of many of his fans, Eddie Murphy has settled into a career of mediocre family flicks with the Shrek franchise being the only exception (depending on your opinion). Yet, with all the lows Eddie Murphy has managed to hit in the last decade, this is by far the lowest.

The story is the same old shtick about a father who cares more about his work than his own daughter. Evan (Murphy) is divorced from his wife and rarely spends time with his daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi). However, he is forced to take care of her the week he is also vying for the top spot at his firm. His adversary is co-worker Johnny Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church), a newcomer to the firm who uses unorthodox Native American strategies to build his clientsí portfolios. While Evan continues to ignore Olivia, he is also seeking to end her attachment to a blanket that is the portal into her imaginary world.

Olivia starts to give Evan advice, through her imaginary friends, about his clients and while he ignores her at first, he soon discovers that everything she says is true. Cue father and daughter finally spending quality time together and beginning a deeper relationship, when all Evan really wants is the answers to his professional troubles. The trouble with the film, however, is that itís so cut and dry it lacks any heart. Murphy is given some free reign with which he dances, yells and makes crazy faces but none of it will elicit any sort of smirk, even from a child. Even the bonding of father and daughter seems uninspired and forced and contains nothing convincing on Murphyís part. He only seems interested in collecting his paycheck.

Church is also embarrassing as Whitefeather, whose Native American ancestry is used as a running joke throughout the film thatís in very poor taste. Thereís absolutely nothing redeeming about Imagine That, even for a nice Friday night movie night with the family. Parents looking for something to watch with the kids should check rental shelves for the countless other films that contain the same moral but offer much more enjoyment.