Imagine That

  • Review Date: June 12, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Sugary sweet father-daughter comedy is fine for families.
  • Review Date: June 12, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Positive role models

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 12, 2009
DVD release date:October 6, 2009
Cast:Eddie Murphy, Thomas Haden Church, Yara Shahidi
Director:Karey Kirkpatrick
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild language and brief questionable behavior

This review of Imagine That was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey October 13, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
The movie itself was very cute and so funny! I watched it with my dad and he was like turning red and dying of laughter. It was all good and nothing bad (except some racism), but the language was kind of innapropriate. Crap, cut the crap, loads of crap, hell, shut up, stupida, and poop were used and even though (with the shows they watch) it's nothing new to your young ones, it's NOT setting a great example. Cut the language, and the movies fine for 6 and up.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 year old Written bySuburban Mom of Five June 26, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

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 stole from his daughter and used his daughter to get ahead in his career. Another character gave Red Bull to his son to get him to come up with some good stock picks. All my kids (3,5,7,9,11) were bored and did not get what the father was doing with his daughter (he was having her imaginary friends make stock picks for him).
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byJimmy brew September 7, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Murphy comedy is adorable for older kids and up

My rating:PG for rude humor,language and thematic elements

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