Combustible Celluloid
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With: Piper Parabo, Matthew Goode, Lena Headey, Anthony Head, Celia Imrie
Written by: Ol Parker
Directed by: Ol Parker
MPAA Rating: R for some language and sexual material
Running Time: 93
Date: 09/09/2005

Imagine Me & You (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Bride's Aid

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In the earliest days of romantic comedy, filmmakers Frank Capra (Platinum Blonde) and Ernst Lubitsch (The Smiling Lieutenant) told stories of married people falling in love with outside parties. A few years later, with It Happened One Night, Capra decided that it was easier to tell stories about single people and simply conjure up some outside force to keep them apart until the third act.

Now rookie writer/director Ol Parker has brought back that difficult Capra/Lubitsch tradition for his film Imagine Me & You. Londoners Rachel (Piper Parabo) and Heck (Matthew Goode) have been together for as long as either of them remembers; they decide they may as well get married. But on her way up the isle, Rachel meets eyes with Luce (Lena Headey), a flower shop keeper who provided the blossoms for the wedding.

Rachel and Luce become fast friends, but it takes a while for Rachel to uncover just why she feels so strongly for her new friend. Will she leave her husband for a lesbian lover? Parker answers this question by resorting to every romantic comedy staple in the book, from "dialing the phone, panicking and hanging up" to the climactic car chase across town to keep the potential mate from catching a plane.

Thankfully, Parker successfully avoids making Rachel's choice easy. Heck is a genuinely nice bloke, and not the usual romantic comedy third wheel with an ego problem or some kind of fashion or hygiene handicap. What's more, Imagine Me & You does not obsess over the lesbian angle, unlike the recent Something New, which wears its interracial romance out front like a badge. Rachel's new love could just as easily have been a man, and the script wouldn't have required too many changes.

Most of all, though, Perabo (with an effective English accent), Headey and Goode (fresh from Woody Allen's Match Point) bring the movie its affecting chemistry and overall goodwill. It's not hard to like these people and to empathize with their romantic plight. When Rachel's parents (Anthony Head and Celia Imrie) share a vicarious kiss in the heat of the film's climactic moment, you can't blame them one bit.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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