Australian Council on Children and the Media

Imagine That

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Short takes

Not recommended under 7 (Lacks interest)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Imagine That
  • a review of Imagine That completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 September 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended - lacks interest and may be hard to follow for this age group
Children 7 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Imagine That
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 107 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Imagine That is about the life of high achieving financial executive Evan Danielson (Eddie Murphy) who is an expert in his field. The rumour is that the manager of his financial division is leaving and  Evan feels he has a good chance of being next in line for the job. His main competition is Johnny Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church), a recently employed financial manager who up to now has been very successful, although slightly unorthodox.

Evan is divorced with a young daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi) who is having some problems at school and who will not go anywhere without her security blanket (her “googaa”). During a meeting where he is presenting to a major client in competition with Johnny, Evan gets a call from the school to pick up his daughter and ends up taking Olivia to work with surprising results.

Initially he makes a complete fool of himself at a client meeting where he feels that Johnny Whitefeather is stealing his clients using American Indian mumbo jumbo. Olivia has drawn all over his report and when it comes to his turn to present he uses her drawings, and makes the most ridiculous statements relating to her drawings. He has a meeting with the boss expecting to be fired but instead he is told that, although slightly childish, his analysis is very accurate.

Evan then looks at Olivia in a new light. She seems to have an unnerving ability to pick good quality stocks and have a knack of knowing what will happen next. When he asks her how she does this, she says that ‘the princess’ is telling her and that she meets her and other friends by using her blanket.

Evan and Olivia then start talking to her imaginary friends together and this leads to a bond between father and daughter and, eventually, the confidence that Evan needs to do his job again.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family breakdown

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

None of concern

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There is one scene where Evan takes Olivia’s blanket away and she screams, but this is quite gentle and he gives it back to her.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

None of concern

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

None of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Evan drives a Silver Mercedes
  • Indigo (Johnny’s son) drinks Red Bull

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

The Red Bull he drinks makes Indigo hyperactive

Coarse language

Some putdowns and mild coarse language including “crap”, “caca”, “little freak”.

In a nutshell

Imagine That is a family comedy best suited to school-age children. It highlights the importance of balancing career and relationships and shows that if you only focus on your career your family may get left behind. It also demonstrates the importance of imagination and how sometimes imagination can be used to solve a dilemma that cannot be solved simply by relying on skill and experience.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • the importance of family
  • the importance of listening to everyone, including your children

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

Although it looked funny when Johnny fed his son Red Bull to keep him awake and his son became hyperactive, in reality this can be damaging for a person especially a child.

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