Dir/scr: Ol Parker.UK-Ger. 2005. 93mins
Ol Parker ventures intoRichard Curtis territory for his directorial debut Imagine You And Me, apleasant romantic comedy that often appears torn between its more soulful, reflectiveinstincts and the lure of following the crowd-pleasing Curtis formula. Theformula generally wins even if the mismatched lovers on this occasion are anewlywed bride and a lesbian florist.
Treading a well-worn path,the film (which was previously known as Click) still has sufficient charm to generate a modest commercial appeal,especially among incurable romantics and gay audiences. Imagine, You And Meis listed as a working title and prospects could be improved by a more invitingmonicker.
Initially, it seems as ifwe are in for yet another addition to the seemingly endless list of FourWeddings clones (My Best Friend's Wedding, The Wedding Planner, TheWedding Date etc). All the usual suspects are assembled for the big day-thenervous groom Heck (Match Point's Goode in Hugh Grant mode), the radiantbride Rachel (Perabo), bitchy mother (Imrie), befuddled father (Head), randybest man (Boyd ) and precocious, worldly wise kid sister (Jackson).
The wedding does go aheadbut as Rachel glides down the aisle, she locks eyes with florist Luce (Headey)and is instantly smitten. Keen to pursue a friendship, she invites Luce tosupper and attempts a little match-making with Coop. It is the first of manyevents that bring the two women close together and force Rachel to re-evaluateher heart's desire.
Best known as thescriptwriter for television dramas Go Now and In Your Dreams,Parker tries a little too hard to make Imagine You And Me a completelyirresistible charmer. Characters always appear to have a withering one-liner onthe tip of their tongues, friends and family provide suitably colourful supportand, just like Curtis, unexpected profanity is deployed for comic effect.
The result is an amiableand amusing entertainment that often feels like familiar television fare fromeither side of the Atlantic. Friends and Cold Feet instantly cometo mind.
The film is much moreeffective in its quieter moments as it charts the growing attraction betweenthe two women, focusing on the performances by Perabo (sporting a creditablestab at a posh British accent) and her The Cave co-star Heady whoinvests Luce with such intelligence and spirit that you can readily accept theattraction for Rachel. It is a role and a performance that reminds us what anappealing screen personality Headey can be.
Attractively shot on Londonlocations that generally avoid double-decker red buses and Buckingham Palace,the film is well-cast throughout although it doesn't always make the most ofits talented ensemble - Sue Johnston is underused as Luce's supportive motherElla and Eva (Ae Fond Kiss) Birthistle is criminally wasted in a tinyrole as Luce's friend.
It maintain a brisk paceand only begins to flag in the final stretch when misunderstandings areresolved, "follow your heart" advice is dispensed and we head towards aconventional happy ending that ties up rather too many loose ends.
David M Thompson
Lynda La Plante