Imagine That

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Imagine That Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Sugary sweet father-daughter comedy is fine for families.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 22 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Putting your family first is really the plot of this film.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Evan, a workaholic dad, finally bonds with his daughter and decides to make her the top priority in his life. On the other hand, for most of the movie, he uses her special blanket's magical skills to further his career, even resorting to stealing security blankets to attempt to make his own connection with the princesses.Native American culture is referenced, in many cases for a laugh. The character who acts like a Native American is exposed to be a fraud.

Violence & Scariness

Several comic pratfalls.

Sexy Stuff

Olivia says her mom is "friends" with a coworker who looks like "Prince Charming." The mom and her date are shown together at an event. Evan acts jealous.


Mild insults like "stupid," "poop," and exclamations like "loads of crap," "cut the crap," "oh my God," "shut up," and "what the hell."


Featured brands include Dell computers, Mercedes, the TV show Blue's Clues, the children's book Olivia, the Denver Nuggets, and Red Bull energy drink.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Eddie Murphy father-daughter comedy is aimed squarely at families, so expect your kids to be interested. The good news is that it's mostly tame and family-friendly, except for a few exclamations like "crap" and "hell" and some possibly off-putting, over-the-top references/jokes regarding Native Americans and their culture. While Murphy's character starts out primarily interested in furthering his career, he ultimately learns an important lesson about putting his daughter first.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11-year-old Written bySuburban Mom of Five June 26, 2009

Message meant for adults

This movie was about parents learning to put their child before their career, which is really a message for adults, not kids. The father seemed to be nice, but... Continue reading
Parent Written bySarah R. August 1, 2020

Great Movie for families!

I think this movie is a perfect father and daughter movie to watch. I don't think kids under the age of 8 would really understand it. There is a lot of pro... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old September 5, 2011

comedy feel - good slapstick

very funny but i'll say there are some parts that i expectthat for for age s 0-9 year olds should not watch
Kid, 11 years old July 4, 2011

So sweet!

This movie is so sweet. There's nothing really wrong with this movie. I love it!!!!

What's the story?

Evan (Eddie Murphy) is a successful investment manager who's up for a huge promotion. But the same week that he has to outperform his scene-stealing competitor Johnny Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church) in client meetings, his ex-wife sends their daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi) to stay with him. As the week progresses, it becomes clear that Olivia's special security blanket, "Goo Ga," and her imaginary princess friends are prescient about business deals. When Evan loosens up and starts believing in Olivia's unseen pals, it looks like he'll be a shoo-in for the big job.

Is it any good?

Murphy's live-action family films are hit (Dr. Dolittle) or miss (Meet Dave) -- IMAGINE THAT seems a bit more like the former than the latter. The premise is simple, the story is like a younger-skewing Bedtime Stories-meets-Bridge to Terabithia (minus all the special effects, since we never actually see Olivia's magical kingdom), and the manic Murphy quotient (how often his comedy goes way over the top) is kept to an amusing but not annoying level. Compared to some of Murphy's recent stinkers, this charming little father-daughter tale is perfect family matinee fare.

The main reason for the movie's appeal is the adorable chemistry between Murphy and Shahidi. The kid isn't just cute, but believably enchanting. Haden Church's Native American poser is funny half the time and borderline offensive the other, depending on the scene. His funniest bit (and perhaps the only laugh-out-loud moment in the movie) is when Whitefeather plies his son with Red Bull, covers him with a ceremonial Navajo blanket, and tries to extract financial prophecies. Silly and a bit stereotypical? Sure. Funny? Definitely.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about work-family balance. 

  • What does Evan learn by the time the movie is over? 

  • Was Olivia's fantasy world important because it helped Evan get ahead or because it helped them bond? 

  • Families can also discuss the movie's Native American jokes/references. Are they funny? Is humor based on stereotypes OK?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love full-fledged fantasies

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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