'Imagine Me & You' — in a Three-Way — with Another Girl

    What’s the name of those awards for poignant films that leave an ache in your heart but a smile on your face? Actually, it doesn’t matter, because “Imagine Me & You” won’t be nominated for any awards. It won’t net a Best Actress nomination nor one for Best Picture, because face it — Oscar material is in a class apart from this cheesy sorta fairy tale.

    Courtesy of Fox searchlight
    Something blue: Matthew Goode (left) stars as a groom spurned by confused bride-to-be Piper Perabo (right) in “Imagine Me & You,” a British romantic comedy that cross-pollinates “Runaway Bride” and “Brokeback Mountain.”

    “Imagine Me & You” starts out as the classic Turtles song (“Happy Together”) does — unbearably cute and romantic — because newlyweds Rachel (Piper Perabo) and Heck (Matthew Goode) make an adorable couple. However, like a bad remix of a better-left-alone love song, there is something which doesn’t sit well: Rachel has a twinkle in her eye for a female newcomer at her own wedding. There’s supposed to be a heart-jarring moment between the two strangers, although Perabo (from “Coyote Ugly”) as an actress doesn’t carry this emotion well. It’s hard to elicit a true understanding when she has little going for her besides a pretty face.

    The movie does have its saving grace, though. Nearly every scene is laugh-out-loud funny, whether it’s banter between quirky father-in-law Ned (Anthony Head from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and his sarcastic wife Tessa (Celia Imrie) or between Heck and his arrogant best friend Copper (Darren Boyd). The characters are delightfully witty, and sometimes resemble caricatures, but there is a chink in the chain — they’re extremely one-dimensional.

    It’s hard to criticize a chick flick when the old romantic comedy formula is destined to have a joyously sappy ending, even if this chick flick has double the “chick” and triple the cheesiness. It’s meant to be acceptable for characters to be a little on the predictable side. It’s expected for everyone to conveniently live happily ever after. But even a simple recipe can be distasteful if there’s no modicum of substance to it. The actors and actresses always say the right things at the right time, which makes for an easy plot but simultaneously rebukes any kind of realistic tension between the characters. Simply put, this movie is like a smooth ride down Lesbian Lane, and without real bumps in the road; it lacks the heartfelt sympathy which could make it a memorable success.

    That isn’t to say that “Imagine Me & You” won’t qualify as a 94-minute stress-reliever, but it surely isn’t worth the price of admission.

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