3 out of 5 stars (average)
Eddie Murphy has made some very badly reviewed films in the past few years (I.E. Norbit, Meet Dave). Nickelodeon Movies’ last film, Hotel for Dogs, was very stupid. But now both NM and Eddie Murphy are getting their act together as they bring us Imagine That, a peculiar and surprisingly funny story with no bathroom jokes, just clean family humor.
Evan Danielson (Murphy) is a stock market advisor who is good at his job but horrible at being a father to his daughter, Olivia. Olivia always carries around her Goo-gaa, a blanket and the girl and blanket are inseparable. She also has imaginary princess friends. Thank the Lord the mom is not dead in this comedy, but Evan is divorced from Tricia, played by Nicole Ari Parker.
To add on to the comedic situation, Evan also must deal with a seemingly Animal Planet obsessed coworker named Johnny White Feather (Thomas Haden Church from Spider-man 3.) They’re competing for the top spot at their job.
When he must take care of Olivia for the week, Evan is not happy, but is obligated by former wife Tricia. All Evan does is talk on the phone or work on the computer, barely giving Olivia any attention. This all changes when Olivia’s drawings on Evan’s notes turn out to have magical powers of financial fortune-telling. Soon Evan lets Olivia take him into her imaginary world so her imaginary princess friends can start telling him about other companies.
This film is quite hilarious even for a kid’s movie. It’s great to watch Eddie Murphy’s character act so funny and stupid in front of other adults. The acting was mostly believable but for instance, in half the film Olivia screams like a banshee whenever her Goo-gaa is taken away. I would expect that kind of behavior from a 3 year old but Olivia already about 6 or 7. But then again, you don’t expect a grown man to act like Eddie Murphy does on a normal basis either.
While Murphy delivers most of the laughs, credit is due to Thomas Hayden Church who is comical in his outrageous ‘belief’ that we all live under one sky, or whatever nonsense he was spouting. I’m also still laughing over a small but very funny part of the 10 year old kid at the pizza place who tries to extort $50 from Evan. He’s probably got a future as a financial trader.
Rated PG for mild language and some questionable behavior. I recommend this for kids 7 and up.