Film Review: Imagine Me & You

BY KHALILAH WALTERS

Hot on the heels of everybody’s favorite gay cowboy movie and just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a tale of love at first sight and with bad timing. Ol Parker’s directorial debut, Imagine Me & You, is a touching and funny film that gives new meaning to the moniker “chick flick.” The romantic comedy stars Piper Perabo as a bride, Rachel, who falls for the florist she meets at her wedding – a female florist. Folks with a soft spot for British wit will find some delightful gems and a howler or two in Imagine Me & You, but be forewarned: Four Weddings and a Funeral it is not. The humor is neither as smart nor as dark, nor are the characters as complex.

Imagine Me & You portrays Rachel struggling with her commitment to her husband and best friend, Heck, and her newfound, exquisite longing for Luce. Meanwhile, in sparse but efficient character and plot development, we are invited to venture into time-worn questions of the nature of true love. Imagine Me & You is a film lacking in irony, and the earnestness works when it is not ladled on with a too heavy hand, as is the case for much of the film. Yet, it cannot avoid succumbing to its genre; there are moments that reek of pure cheese. There are surreal plot twists that labor to ensure the film is a predictably predictable Romantic Comedy. Some of the humor is cutesy rather than funny, and the film has its share of stock characters. Incorrigible rake? Check! Endearing child actor? Sure thing. Slimy boss? Must you ask?

Imagine Me & You answers the question of whether a film can handle a love story between two people of the same gender without becoming “a gay film” in the affirmative. The comedy manages to ply the romance between the two women persuasively without turning the romantic leads into caricatures. It does this by not making sexuality the central focus of the film, treating the gender of Rachel’s paramour as not much more than an incidental characteristic. In this way, Imagine Me & You is a lighthearted, well-paced look at the travails of romance that succeeds in charming its audience because it portrays the burgeoning romance between the women in familiar, tried and true methods employed by romantic comedies. At the same time, though it does not seek to clobber the viewer with the heavy political stick of “the gay question,” it retains reality in treating the issues arising from the unorthodox affair with sensitivity and a healthy dose of reality.

Though the film treats the characters sympathetically in the resulting fallout, the morality of the characters’ actions is less conscientiously probed. Having succeeded at transcending a billing as a “lesbian” romantic comedy and qualifying as another bittersweet tale of a lovers’ triangle, the film arguably falls short in showing why these characters deserve the holy grail of the Romantic Comedy: the Happy Ending. After all, infidelity is infidelity, and other such trivialities. Besides the short shrift given such questions of conscience, the film is plagued with the typical, hokey “follow your heart” platitudes. But to bemoan a romantic comedy for doing what romantic comedies do is to take too place too many demands on a film that tries its darnedest to avoid being a morality play and instead be a warm chick flick – with a twist.

Hot on the heels of everybody’s favorite gay cowboy movie and just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a tale of love at first sight and with bad timing. Ol Parker’s directorial debut, Imagine Me & You, is a touching and funny film that gives new meaning to the moniker “chick flick.” The romantic comedy stars Piper Perabo as a bride, Rachel, who falls for the florist she meets at her wedding – a female florist. Folks with a soft spot for British wit will find some delightful gems and a howler or two in Imagine Me & You, but be forewarned: Four Weddings and a Funeral it is not. The humor is neither as smart nor as dark, nor are the characters as complex.

Imagine Me & You portrays Rachel struggling with her commitment to her husband and best friend, Heck, and her newfound, exquisite longing for Luce. Meanwhile, in sparse but efficient character and plot development, we are invited to venture into time-worn questions of the nature of true love. Imagine Me & You is a film lacking in irony, and the earnestness works when it is not ladled on with a too heavy hand, as is the case for much of the film. Yet, it cannot avoid succumbing to its genre; there are moments that reek of pure cheese. There are surreal plot twists that labor to ensure the film is a predictably predictable Romantic Comedy. Some of the humor is cutesy rather than funny, and the film has its share of stock characters. Incorrigible rake? Check! Endearing child actor? Sure thing. Slimy boss? Must you ask?

Imagine Me & You answers the question of whether a film can handle a love story between two people of the same gender without becoming “a gay film” in the affirmative. The comedy manages to ply the romance between the two women persuasively without turning the romantic leads into caricatures. It does this by not making sexuality the central focus of the film, treating the gender of Rachel’s paramour as not much more than an incidental characteristic. In this way, Imagine Me & You is a lighthearted, well-paced look at the travails of romance that succeeds in charming its audience because it portrays the burgeoning romance between the women in familiar, tried and true methods employed by romantic comedies. At the same time, though it does not seek to clobber the viewer with the heavy political stick of “the gay question,” it retains reality in treating the issues arising from the unorthodox affair with sensitivity and a healthy dose of reality.

Though the film treats the characters sympathetically in the resulting fallout, the morality of the characters’ actions is less conscientiously probed. Having succeeded at transcending a billing as a “lesbian” romantic comedy and qualifying as another bittersweet tale of a lovers’ triangle, the film arguably falls short in showing why these characters deserve the holy grail of the Romantic Comedy: the Happy Ending. After all, infidelity is infidelity, and other such trivialities. Besides the short shrift given such questions of conscience, the film is plagued with the typical, hokey “follow your heart” platitudes. But to bemoan a romantic comedy for doing what romantic comedies do is to take too place too many demands on a film that tries its darnedest to avoid being a morality play and instead be a warm chick flick – with a twist.

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