Imagine Me & You

UK release date: 16 June 2006

cast list

Piper Perabo
Lena Headey
Matthew Goode
Darren Boyd
Celia Imrie
Anthony Head
Sue Johnston

directed by
Ol Parker
The Working Title/Richard Curtis rom-com machine has been a little quietof late with the last genuine release back in 2004 with the pitiful sequelto Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Aiming for the valentine’s crowd comes anattempt to cash in on the popular formula, this time from relative newcomerOl Parker. It comes complete with white, attractive, middle-class Londonersall swearing too much and bemoaning their broken hearts in their swankyapartments. But this time, there’s one key twist to the boy meets girlformula… it’s a girl meets girl thing.

Rachel (Piper Perabo) is getting married to Hector (Matthew Goode) andseems to be ready to take the leap. But as she walks down the aisle shespots Luce (Lena Headey), a florist who grabs Rachel’s attention, yet shedoesn’t quite know why. As they become closer friends, Rachel discovers whyLuce is uninterested in her attempts to match-make, Luce is a lesbian.Rachel begins to find a confusing attraction to Luce as her marriage startsto falter. But is it possible that Rachel could fall in love with anotherwoman?

Despite the neat gimmick, Imagine Me & You is still hopelessly generic.Yes there’s a wedding, yes there’s the use of ‘British’ swear-words in placeof actual jokes such as “arsing”, “wanky” and “bastardy” (no, I’ve neverused any of them before either), yes there’s the precocious kid, yes there’sthe smug use of London locations and yes there are the ‘hilariously’dysfunctional parents. And yes, this formula is starting to grate on me aswell.

Without the strict adherence to the formula (oh – did I mention theclimactic chase through traffic, coupled with the theme song?), there aresome things to like here as well. It’s all very slickly done and incrediblyeasy on the eye. There are some amusing moments and the girl meets girlstoryline does lead to some interesting dilemmas. The theme of marriagebeing for second bests is frequently recurring and does provide for abittersweet conclusion. The filmmakers don’t turn Rachel’s husband, playedby Match Point‘s Matthew Goode, into an unlikeable character, makingher infidelity all the more amoral.

American actress Piper Perabo doesn’t have the charisma that would haveelevated her into a memorable romantic lead but she does pin down theBritish accent effortlessly and at least does make her plight involving.Lena Headey is an appealing object of affection and her character rarelyresorts to clich. Oh apart from the ‘lesbian bonding’ scene which takesplace at a football match where Headey teaches Perabo how to ‘shout like afootball hooligan’.

Oh those lesbians, aren’t they butch. As previouslymentioned one of my main problems is the tendency of the writer to be lazyand replace jokes with swearing. I’m not offended by bad language but justbecause someone says fuck or bugger, in an inventive way, I’m notautomatically going to find it funny.

It will be interesting to see how Imagine Me & You will do in the boxoffice. It is refreshing to see a lesbian romantic comedy treated like amainstream movie, rather than an independent offering. The fact that itscoupled by the familiar formula we all know and, uhum, love, will help itschances.

Depressingly, after the huge success of last year’s Hitch itseems audiences aren’t bothered by a romantic comedy which sticks to therules, although it would be nice to see something truly different for once.But in the meantime this is an inoffensive and enjoyable time-waster.

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