by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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If all the cuddly, feel-good, nurturing, bonding, fantastic moments shared between Eddie Murphy and his daughter in Imagine That could be bottled, then certainly the world would be a better place.
In Imagine That, Murphy plays financial executive Evan Danielson, who’s looking to make greater inroads at work, as he battles for prominence in the firm that’s headed by Ronny Cox, who plays Tom Stevens. Thomas Haden Church plays Johnny Whitefeather, Murphy’s nemesis at work; whose grandstanding and fake Native American antics prove to be his professional downfall.
Murphy stumbles upon what’s perceived as make-believe magic that seems to be the one thing, along with her security blanket, that keeps his 7-year-old daughter, Olivia, played by Yari Shahidi, sane, as she comes to spend a few days at Murphy’s home.
Now, at first Murphy isn’t that enthusiastic about taking care of his daughter, and he has a maid who makes thing much easier. And once he lets go and finds that comfort level; things get crazy—but this wackiness only serves to strengthen the father-daughter relationship.
After it’s discovered that Shahidi’s security blanket has magical powers, Murphy becomes obsessed—even to the brink of breaking into his buddy’s home during a kid sleepover to confiscate the blanket—and this act saddens his daughter and brings shame to Murphy, as he’s caught trying to sneak out of the house.
If any lessons can be gleaned from Imagine That, it’s that family comes first and the love between a father and his daughter can be strengthened and displayed in creative ways.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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