Monday, August 16, 2010

Outside the Lines: Imagine Me & You

I recently found out that a coworker went to school with Piper Perabo.  Which is kind of random and funny.  In the spirit of this discovery, I decided to rent a film that had been on my "to see" list since its 2005 release, but one I'd never quite gotten around to: Imagine Me & You.

Perabo, doing a really nice British accent, plays Rachel, a sweet London lady who is about to marry her equally sweet fiance Hector (uberhottie Matthew Goode--my God, that man made Leap Year worth watching and that's NOT an easy feat).  As she is literally walking down the aisle, Rachel locks eyes with wedding florist Luce (Lena Headey) and afterward, nothing is the same.  Only problem is, she's married now and genuinely loves Hector, though not in the way she previously thought.

Even with the lesbian twist, this is a chick flick through and through.  No adorable stone is left unturned, from the enviable wardrobes of both leading ladies to the dude's horny best friend to the precocious moppet of a lil sibling, to the constant images and dialogue about flowers.  Oh, and if you never wanted to live in London, you sure as hell will after seeing this movie.  Scenery porn all the way.

I do appreciate the filmmakers' tackling issues of love and sexuality in a fairly lightweight, enjoyable manner without downplaying their importance.  I liked how Hector wasn't a jerk, but a wonderful person who just wants to do right by his increasingly distant bride.  (Reminded me of season one of The L Word, before it descended into a trashily awesome soap, when you felt empathy for both Jenny and Tim.)  I liked how Headey, even by Hollywood standards, was believable as a lesbian (not that lesbians look, talk or act a certain way, but sometimes it's PAINFULLY obvious that an actress is straight and trying way too hard to be "controversial."  Heady just was, and it worked.)  So often, relationships involve the best of people, but are messy because of timing and trial and error and those quirky things called emotions, and I thought the film captured this very well.

And yet . . . it still felt shallow, even lazy, at times.  Was the cute little sister really necessary?  Ditto for the pervy best friend.  In fact, all of the "friend" characters in the film might as well have worn signs saying, "Hello, I'm a plot device for a main character and have no real, un-cliche qualities of my own."  Hate that.  The subplot with Hector's job felt tacked on and rushed.  Finally, Rachel's father, who I think was supposed to be endearingly absentminded, just came across as mentally ill to me.

Overall, I liked the movie: it's hard for me to find fault with something so pretty, and most of it felt genuine.  However, I can't shake the sitcom-y aura that pervaded some of the scenes.  That, combined with the above faults, made me wonder if this movie would have ever been greenlit without the girl-meets-girl storyline.  Interestingly enough, I read on IMDb that the script was originally written as a heterosexual love story.  Yeah, that doesn't surprise me at all.

Don't get me wrong: love stories of all types are important and should be well-represented in pop culture.   And I'll never know whether Imagine Me & You really was written with Luce as a guy, or whether that's just another untrue Internet factoid.  But I will say this: don't do a lesbian love story just to be "different."  Even if it's a lighthearted flick, that's no excuse not to really dive in.  (Pun intended.)


  1. I've always found Piper Perabo to be a surprisingly strong actress, given the dreck that she's normally in. Coyote Ugly was pretty painful - except for her - and her current USA show Covert Affairs is full of silly performance - except for her.

    This movie sounds interesting, like another flawed "lesbian awakening" movie I've seen, But I'm A Cheerleader. (I took four Women's Studies courses in college, which isn't readily apparent from my blog, where I readily talk about how hot the cast of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is.)

  2. Steve--I too have always gotten the impression that Perabo is way smarter than the material she's given. She also did a great job in the mostly bad live-action Rocky & Bullwinkle.

    I thought this was an interesting choice for her: I don't know how big the film was in the UK, but it doesn't look super high-budget, so I wonder if this was more of a passion project. Apart from the father, the acting on a whole is pretty strong here, so it's definitely worth a rental.

  3. Have you seen Kissing Jessica Stein? This movie sounds like a worse version of KJS, which was sweet and real and not nearly enough people saw it!

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  5. Nikki--I did see KJS. I really loved the concept, but Jennifer Westfeldt's voice annoys the crap out of me. Which is sad, because I respect her as an actress (and I am very jealous of her relationship with Jon the Hottie Hamm!). I just can't stomach her voice.

    The concept of Imagine Me & You was actually a little different, as Rachel was fighting her attraction to a woman, as opposed to being open to experimenting with it. Also, there was an established relationship at stake. It had some similarities, but I wouldn't directly compare it to Kissing Jessica Stein.

  6. I was a fan of Imagine Me & You back when I rented it as one of my free rentals as an employee of Hollywood Video. I agree that it handles the "taboo" subject beautifully and delicately! Great post

    - Calhoun

  7. I've seen this movie twice, and your thoughts pretty much match mine. I had no idea that it was even rumoured that this film was written with the Luce character as a guy, but I find that hard to believe actually. I guess because if you take out the sudden questioning of PP's character's sexuality, there's *really* not enough substance to the story. It is very cute though.

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  9. Ilove this movie and i love lena headey!!! :)