| The Red Right Hand
IMAGINE ME & YOU
A large portion of the bookselling industry is full of pappy escapist romance novels aimed at younger readers, affectionately dubbed 'Brit-Chick-Lit.' I hate them. I find them to be empty, repetitive and dull. The same could easily be said for the rom-com medium of cinema. The same tired, worn out scenarios played over and again to an audience divided; those that love to be challenged and those with low IQ's. I assume you're aware of the works of Richard Curtis. If you're not I'll reel off a few titles for you: Four Weddings and A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones' Diary, Love Actually. Films that have set a precedence across the US, filling their heads with stuttering, fop-fringed charming gentlemen and elegant ladies, all getting into hilarious trouble involving a lot of swearing. Oh, how delightfully British! How quaint, they cry. The same unrealistic nonsense. Imagine You & Me isn't exactly challenging nor perfectly realistic but it's honest in its methods. I doubt writer/director, Ol Parker, set out to make something factually authentic (the cliched moments see to that) but he has written a tale that allows people to feel without dumbing down too much. My honest opinion (for what it's worth) is that this is a genuinely funny movie that will go down well with a public that is bored of the same old routine. Having said that there will always be those who wish to have everything laid out in front of them, due to their lack of imagination or childish nature (see: Date Movie), the movie may play-off as boring to these people. Of course, there's also the critics and media who will probably hate it and tell you not to bother with it... but I'm a critic and I liked it. Stupid paradox!
Piper Perabo stars as Rachel, who is set to marry Heck [Goode], the annoyingly likeable, oh-so-perfect Hugh Grant for the next generation. The big day arrives, everyone is preoccupied with themselves but everything comes back down to the couple. It has to be said, there's nothing like a wedding at the start of a film to establish characters; you've got your sex crazed best man, giggling bride's maids, over bearing parents (fussy mother and dithering father) and the competition. As Rachel is making her way down the aisle, she briefly shares a glance with the florist, Luce [Headey]. This confuses our lead and as she enters a life of matrimony, she starts to question her interest and growing friendship with Luce - a woman she hardly knows. This relationship is dealt with exceptionally well, using emotional subtleties, as opposed to the American classic: "It's so hot in here, I think I'll remove my top. Oh, but my hands are still covered in baby lotion from that innocent back rub I was giving you. Would you mind doing it, generic hot blonde #2?" Caught in the middle of this is Heck, who naturally doesn't twig what's going on in his wife's head; at one point he assumes it's pregnancy. He takes solace in his friend, Cooper [Darren Boyd], who is also out to 'cure' Luce of her sexual orientation. This does provide a few interesting words for one's lexicon, the one that stands out being, Vagitarian. Set in the nicer parts of London (with a few unfortunate references to cultural landmarks - one day a film will be set and made in London that refuses to show Tower Bridge [note foreigners, not London Bridge!], St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace or that stupid ferris wheel) allows for a much smoother execution to this feel-good love story. You may be a little confused. The biggest 'gay' release of the year was Brokeback Mountain, set in the oppressive southern states of America. London is a hive of diversity and so the quick transitional acceptance between characters seems believable. That and anywhere outside of London is just too confusing for mass audiences; Heaven forbid there are towns outside our capital.
The acting is sweet and due to the Curtis-esque ending you don't seem to mind the consequences. They should be heart breaking but you come to accept them as those involved all seem happy in some way. Usually I despise those kinds of endings, unrealistic and pretentiously optimistic, leaving the audience unable to relate but with the preceding ninety minutes slapping a stupid grin across your face you can't help but feel all gooey inside; Aww. On the other hand, if you're after something a little more gruelling and realistic, might I suggest you try Perabo's earlier work, Lost and Delirious. A perfect sappy summer romance that may get over looked but deserves more attention than most releases as it deals with most of its issues in a poignant and sensitive manner.
16th June 2006
The Scene To Look Out For:
With the feelings of a fresh new love coursing through her veins, Rachel decides she wants to have sex in the park. Once there the rustling and snapping of twigs alarms them. Out step two young male lovers. The awkwardness is brief and the generally considered 'British' thing to do is done. A short introduction and a handshake, all very polite. I don't know why I found it funny, it wasn't really relevant nor insightful. Maybe it was the Englishness of it all that will have oversees audiences scratching their heads.
Rachel's father, Ned [Head]. Sounds sort of like the Prince of Wales and acts like a man who's lived too long with a woman who hates his every action, "Ladies and Gentlemen, my husband. As useful as a fart in a jam jar." Tony Head's a great British actor (I'm not saying that 'cause we're both born in Camden) who's severely underrated and acts as a complete scene-stealer.
"I remember driving to my wedding. That was 30 years ago. It would have been easier if I had killed her. I'd be out of jail by now. Free. Ah well. On the way to the church.. the whole time I wanted to shout... 'Stop the car! There's been a terrible mistake!' But you can't, you just wait to get to that aisle and take the longest walk of your life"
In A Few Words:
"Not the most challenging nor original pieces ever, but a touching addition to the genre"