‘Imagine Me & You’ contains all essential formulae

Ryan deBiase

Lena Headey and Piper Perabo in Imagine Me & You. COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Those Brits love their romantic comedies. Imagine Me & You is one of those.

It contains all the essential formulae of the genre: Lush London backdrop, rolling accents, cutesy married couple, sleazy but respectable man-whore friend, frivolous parents and, of course, the lesbian temptress.

OK, so the lesbian temptress is a bit of a variable in the equation, but that is what gives Imagine its novelty. Few romantic comedies have tackled such a pervasive issue as homosexuality.

Glib and wit were in normal supply, as one would expect. Innovation and progressiveness, on the other hand, were left behind on the Underground.

Imagine Me & You

Starring Piper Perabo, Lena Heady

Directed by Ol Parker

Distibuted by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Rated R for some language and sexual material

Stater rating (out of five): **

In terms of the story, Rachel (Piper Perabo) and Heck (Matthew Goode) are a pair of tooth-achingly sweet newlyweds. At their wedding, Rachel is struck by the gaze of their florist, Luce (Lena Heady), and the attraction is undeniably mutual.

Naturally, the marriage goes on, with Heck painting the picture of the ideal hubby – sensitive, good-natured, easy-going. Perabo plays a cute wife, all smiles despite her sexual confusion.

Heady’s Luce is an outright lesbian, though the lay-man could not tell directly. When she confesses to Heck, “I’m gay,” the sexually confused antics ensue. Heck assumes he can use Luce as a female friend for his wife, unknowing of their mutual attraction.

Rachel and Luce grow predictably closer. They run into each other at every corner. Their relationship becomes a series of impromptu meetings. At a grocery store, they stare at one another with googly eyes. At a soccer game, they stare at each other with googly eyes.

Rachel and Luce’s relationship takes on a certain redundancy. With so much unresolved sexual tension, something must give.

Rachel becomes confused, then frustrated and distant. Heck thinks it’s his fault their marriage is failing. Luce feels responsible for driving a wedge between them. Subtract the homosexual theme and Imagine is a carbon-copy of every other romantic comedy that has crossed the pond.

With a notion as complex as homosexuality, one wonders how it can be so simplified. Imagine Me & You goes for the simple laughs, tried and true. It is fun at times, but it ultimately comes off shallow.

Contact ALL correspondent Ryan deBiase at [email protected].