Friday, June 19, 2009

Imagine That

I have and will always enjoy being entertained by Eddie Murphy. In part, because he is exactly that, entertaining. Not with nominal appeal, actual appeal. He is hilarious and has talent that only a few possess.

He plays Evan Danielson who works as a professional trader with a small but mighty brokerage firm. This firm is based in Denver which I enhanced the movie since I have weary of movies that take place in the same old cities-New York and LA. Denver is a sizeable city and there is nothing wrong at all for a movie with that as its setting.

Evan has moved up the ranks in this firm and is on the verge of becoming its CEO. He has some serious hurdles he must eclipse though. Two of them in fact. His relationship with his daughter and family are becoming troublesome and could affect his mindset. He also has some fierce competition with firm newcomer Johnny Whitefeather played by Thomas Haden Church. Interesting seeing this actor in a comedy like this. I am sure he was excited to have this opportunity to play in a light hearted film such as this.

Johnny is a rising star and he is challenging Evan to consume the mantle of this small but prestegious outfit. Evan uses his Indian charm and charisma to woo potential clients and guide him to making smart investing choices. It is pretty incredible though, and mostly fictional, how he was able to gain access to already firm's clients that have been working with Evan. That would never occur. Ronny Cox from Beverly Hills Cop plays Tom Stevens, Evans supervisor. Wow, time just flies by. Tom and Eddie's characters butted heads on investigative protocol in those movies every time. Those were action comedies set in the 1980's. This modern day comedy has them on a more cordial relationship. Ofcourse it is amacable since Tom is considering retiring to Wakiki and distributing the reigns to Evan.

But Tom has a risky strategy and possibly one that could devastate his plans. The clients or investors could see these co working competitors as a headache and just move to another brokerage firm that is more pleasant. No company would risk this. They would expect this newbie to bring some of his contacts with him and for him to generate his own business for the partnership. In addition, Evan in real life, would go berzerk not stand for a co employee to take over his meetings with clients he has been working with for years. And Tom would not upset a long time winner for him and his company and undermine him like this. Oh well, it is just a story.
Evan not only has this native American man to be concerned about. He has his cute daughter
Olivia Danielson played by Yara Shahidi to contend with. Olivia has a tendency to spend alot of her free time and even school time in a fictional setting. She goes to another world and talks to these imaginary friends. Why the mother is not concerned about this is beyond me. The daughter is not that young and even if she was, a counselor would probably have to be sought out. Peer pressure usually comes before the counselor though. Olivia's school mates would harrass this tendency out of her. A couple of crying episodes and this manifestational proclivity would be rooted out.

Evan is called away from work at a pivotal moment since his daughter refuses to return to class after morning recess. A small blanket she has acts as a portal to this fallacious dimension. This days seems to be a wash. Ofcourse Evan also works out of the home. Anyone who has ever worked sales can attest to this, sales is never ending. Evan takes her to work with him the next day. When he steps out of the office, Olivia scribbles all over his notes for his presentation with this retirement fund. Evan, in a pit of rage, grabs the notes and walks into this office and embarrasses himself. He offers the advice that Olivia's goofy friends have told her and she colors the responses on Evan's notes. Evan spits this garbage out like only Eddie Murphy can do. After the meeting is adjourned and Johnny is on cloud nine, Evan is summoned into Tom's office. Tom is amazed. Evan's advice on which companies are hot turn out to be true. Evan is shocked but keeps that feeling concealed.

The plot of the movie unfolds here. It is totally fiction though, a CEO or powerful manager would ever allow another co worker to talk to already tied in customers. But OK, looking past this, Evan builds a relationship with his daughter and enters this world. It is never revealed if this real but Evan plays along with it for professional and personal reasons. Olivia is always the one who talks to these imaginary characters but somehow they offer 100% correct investment advice using symbolic and wacky language. Olivia is the interpreter. Johnny uses Evan's old working partner to discover what Evan is doing. Johnny realizes the blanket is the key and seeks his own out and forces his son to find an imaginary world to offer him investment advice. Pretty sickening. A local Indian tribe informs Johnny the blanket works best through the innocence of a child. The night before Tom wants the buyout firm to choose a new CEO, Evan and Johnny try to find the ultimate answers.

Evan is married to Nicole Ari Parker who has gorgeous and stunning eyes. Tricia Danielson
is her given name in this movie. She has divorced Evan probably because he has been a poor father and too consumed with his career.

A goofy liberal named Alec Baldwin played a part in The Departed where he was a conservative or atleast praised The Patriot Act. I always thought that was fascinating. Here we go again, Martin Sheen's turn. IMBD does not give him credence for this film. Martin is a wealthy privateer who wants to swallow up this brokerage firm but not before he knows it has a strong leader. This is what pits Evan and Johnny against each other. Both resort to acting like goof balls. Evan wins and Johnny is finally shown for the imposter he is. He is only 1/32nd Indian if that makes any sense. Johnny has been acting like he was 100% native American. In reality, Martin would have been more upset with Tom for allowing this nutcase to run away with this act and even challenge a long time outstanding performer like Evan. Oh well.

When the blanket and the so called fake world are needed, Evan's daughter is attending a friend's party. Ofcourse if she is living in a parallel universe, she would not have any actual friends. Evan's friend, the human whisperer, is too shallow or narrow minded to see the bond that has been recently formed by Evan and his daughter. This former NFL star does not allow Evan near his daughter which is crime. Nevertheless, Evan is too focused to realize his daughter is at the party. He did not think ahead. He did not have a contingency plan which anyone who has excelled in the business world would know about.

The ending has Olivia saying good by to these friends and is willing to relinquish the blanket. This blanket for many months now, I assume, perhaps a year, has become a part of her like her left arm. She would scream whenever Evan tried to separate her from it.

Evan is able to seek some solace though on that Friday night and works up an outstanding plan for Martin. But this Saturday meeting will cause him to miss his daughter's recital. After Johnny flops and is called out by Martin, Evan walks out. This impresses Martin and appears a couple hours later in the park where Evan is with his family. Martin will head this brokerage firm. He has earned it and grew along the way.

The movie was interesting. It was not Coming to America but still good. It had some legs to it and involved topics which I can relate too-investing and decision making.

I give it three stars.***

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