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Imagine Me & You

Your basic chick-flick is a fantasy in which the viewer — usually female — is expected to identify with the main character — always female — as she struggles against some minor obstacles on the way to her One True Love. With the exception of a couple of movies based on Terry McMillan novels, these movies are always about white, upper-class heterosexuals — an argument can be made that they're as much about class distinctions as they are about love, but that's a discussion best left for another time. So it's interesting to come across a film like Imagine Me & You (2004), in which our young (white, middle-class) heroine falls for another woman on her wedding day. As with most cinematic romances, one must dismiss a great deal of logical thought to enjoy this story. First, one must believe that love at first sight can happen. Then one must be willing to accept that Rachel (Piper Perabo) has never once, in her entire life, acknowledged even the teensiest lesbian tendencies before becoming flat-out smitten by her florist (Lena Headey) and suffering a crisis of conscience. Oh, and you'll also have to swallow the film's happy ending, which is less a true conclusion than the curtain quickly dropping before the film's principals delve into several more months, or years, of psychological adjustment… but almost all chick-flicks fall apart if you think about them too much. The debut film by writer/director Ol Parker, Imagine Me & You is witty and briskly paced, owing more than a little of its flavor to the Richard Curtis rom-coms Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love, Actually. The picture's secondary male characters are complex and well-drawn, a rarity in movies of this type and, if nothing else, Piper Perabo is delightful, despite an unconvincing British accent. Still, this is 100 percent fantasy fodder, about improbably beautiful people who never have to worry about money, family problems, careers, or illness as they spend all their time worrying about their love-lives. That the two star-crossed lovers are women is a nice twist, but it's still lightweight fluff of the Bridget Jones variety. Fox's DVD release offers a very good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) on a double-sided disc with an optional full-frame version, showing off some of London's more photogenic locales in rich, warm hues. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (English or Spanish, with optional English, Spanish and French subtitles) is also very good. Extras include an anecdote-packed commentary track by director Parker who, in a refreshing move, discusses many of the script's problems as they arise — although he manages to justify all of them. There's also a bizarre "Personal Statement" by Parker — a sort of mission statement about the film's intent that he wrote as part of his studio pitch — that he reads over a montage of scenes from the film (3 min.). Also on board are a number of deleted scenes with optional commentary, and a cast/director Q & A in which Parket, Perabo, Headey and others are asked some genuinely interesting questions about the project (19 min.). Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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