Imagine Me & You"/>
Brits behaving decently. If my beloved began to stray on our wedding day, I'd be bloody well pissed about it. You know—fold my paper loudly at the breakfast table, refuse to make eye contact or get more toast, leave the dirty dishes in the sink. But that's not the way it works in this London love triangle, where infidelity isn't allowed to crack the china. Newlyweds Heck (Matthew Goode from Match Point) and Rachel (Piper Perabo) have their new union upset by florist Luce (Lena Headey), yet it takes polite ages for anyone to do anything about it. First the three have to become good friends; then they have to remain good friends despite the elephant in the room: that this marriage is kaput and Luce is going to walk away with the spoils. (Without gloating, mind you—that would be unsporting, though Headey is most effective as a sexy hooligan; see Aberdeen for a full demonstration of her rude charm.)
There's so little sense of urgency to the conflict here that Imagine feels like the empty template for a Hugh Grant–Richard Curtis movie: We've arranged all the supporting actors and scenic locations (chiefly North London's Primrose Hill neighborhood, if you're planning a walking tour); so for the rest of the movie, we're waiting for the proper star and script to arrive. Handsome, stammering shy boy Goode could be the next Hugh Grant, but he—like the rest of the movie—is still untainted by nastiness. Perabo, with a barely passable British accent, treats acting like a search for the right word in charades. It's hard to know why she was cast as the token American—because Coyote Ugly has such great drawing power with BBC viewers?
Most of the pleasure here lies in the ancillary roles—Darren Boyd as the best man who's less of a lout than he lets on; Celia Imrie and Anthony Head as Rachel's parents, whose marriage is permanently stuck in trench warfare. (The latter are also parents to Rachel's much younger sister, known simply as "H." Why they named a cute little girl after heroin is anyone's guess.)
Since the movie never establishes whether we're supposed to root for the original couple or cheer when Luce topples that relationship, it warmly blankets any hurt feelings and provides tea and aspirin for the (lightly) injured parties. As a result, heartache and new love end up like the same crumbs discreetly swept off the tablecloth. Although, nearly-weds beware: If your betrothed ever says to you, "You're my best friend," immediately cancel the ceremony, pocket the refund, and blow it all in Vegas. Odds are you'll find a better payoff than here. (R)