There's also a humor-infused story line involving the rivalry between Evan and Whitefeather which offers more commentary on race in the upper-class workplace than one would expect. Evan, the African-American, is simply good at his job while Whitefeather is the one trying to use his supposed background to get ahead. Whitefeather pours out a flurry of Native American sayings, ideas and images, but never really says anything solid. Evan is astounded that anyone would be taken in by this snake-oil salesman routine. In fact, Murphy's race is a refreshing non-issue in this movie. Like his colleague Will Smith often does, Murphy delivers a movie as a black man which will connect with the culture as a whole. Race, while not invisible, feels irrelevant. It's a film for everyone.

The result is a warm, gently funny, soft movie about being a better dad.  But these kinds of stories can be tricky. "If you want to send a message, call Western Union," Samuel Goldwyn is famously quoted as saying. A film that was merely about working less and spending more time with kids would come off as preachy.

Imagine That screenwriter Ed Solomon was aware of this issue. "One of the things we were trying to do is tell a story about a guy who feels that he's burdened or cursed by a daughter he doesn't quite understand, but realizes that he's really been kinda blessed by that," he said. He then talked about the preciousness of time with his own children:  "This is passing by and they'll be 18 and they'll be out of the house and I just feel grateful for every minute I have with them."

Ultimately the film is a love story between a father and a daughter, which is a kind of love just as powerful as romance but not as often explored on film.



Starring Eddie Murphy and Yara Shahidi, Paramount Pictures' Imagine That releases in theaters nationwide on Friday, June 12, 2009.  For more information, please visit the official site for Imagine That.  

Read our full review of Imagine That here.