A same-sex romantic comedy in which love at first sight becomes a newlywed couple’s undoing, Imagine Me & You‘s conventionality is what makes it simultaneously progressive and a great, big snooze. While walking down the aisle to marry “good guy” Heck (Match Point‘s Matthew Goode), Rachel (Piper Perabo, affecting a barely convincing British accent) makes momentary, momentous eye contact with florist Luce (The Brothers Grimm‘s Lena Headey). Sparking an instantaneous attraction that the recently hitched Rachel doggedly tries to quell, their relationship nonetheless blossoms even as she and Heck attempt to set Luce up with Matt’s sexually scurrilous pal Coop (Darren Boyd) and Rachel’s mother (Celia Imrie) prods her daughter to produce some grandchildren. However, with Luce teaching Rachel how to scream at a soccer match by pressing on her diaphragm, and Rachel clumsily resisting the urge to kiss her new best friend, it’s only a matter of time—well, really it’s only a matter of some humorously awkward situations (including one about gay porn), a cards-on-the-table crisis, and an 11th-hour race against the clock—before the smitten women wind up together.
Writer and first-time director Ol Parker sets his story in a cozy England in which there’s nary a blinked eye (only exaggerated disbelieving looks) at Luce’s bedroom proclivities, and there’s something refreshing about the fact that his film non-judgmentally treats lesbian love with the same brand of phony fairy-tale facileness that is the stock-and-trade of virtually all hetero rom-coms. The problem is that Imagine Me & You‘s forward-thinking presentation of girl-girl passion involves a subscription to the genre’s every unbearable, well-worn tradition and truism, from the precocious little girl who asks quirky questions (“When do fish sleep?”), to Coop’s periodic delivery of roguish humor, to soft-focus montages of picture postcard-perfect London set to swelling music, to Parker’s diffusing all potentially sticky situations by ultimately providing each character with a mate, a purpose, and a happily-ever-after smile. Confronted with such a litany of hackneyed head-in-the-clouds tropes, it’s hard to feel any different from Coop when, during his wedding toast to Heck and Rachel, he admits about his friends, “These guys are in love, and I find that…boring.”