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'IMAGINE' A SILLY, TIRESOME COMEDY.

Byline: Glenn Whipp Film Critic

ANG LEE made a weepy love story about two cowboys, so why can't Ol Parker make ``Imagine Me & You,'' a Richard Curtis-style romantic comedy about two lesbians?

Well, as you might easily guess, the answer is because Parker, a first-time director, isn't in Lee's league, much less Curtis'. Curtis himself has strip-mined the form, as evident in the last tepid ``Bridget Jones'' movie and the never-ending ``Love Actually.'' These days, this well-worn style of light British romantic comedy feels like sitting through four funerals and a wedding in which the bride and groom duet in an off-key version of ``Just the Way You Are.''

``Imagine Me & You'' is a movie that, like ``Brokeback Mountain,'' takes the homosexuality of its leads as a matter of fact and not the point of an agenda. But unlike ``Brokeback,'' there isn't much of a story here, just a compendium of genre cliches (precocious kids, romantic complications, a madcap finale and inclusion of an overused pop song). The supporting characters are underwritten and, more crucially, the leads are mopes. Watch Piper Perabo wear a pained expression for 90 minutes and, believe me, you'll come away with the exact same look on your face.

Perabo plays Rachel, a young Brit marrying her longtime beau, Heck (Matthew Goode). As she's walking down the aisle, she locks eyes with the wedding's florist, Luce (Lena Headey). Presto-chango, Rachel senses that she loves Luce. And then Parker, who wrote and directed the movie, spends the next 90 minutes delaying the obvious happily-ever-after for everyone involved.

You'd think that a lesbian romantic comedy with attractive leads like Perabo and Headey would have something for everybody. But the movie is a gooey, tiresome bore, unconvincing in its lesbian relationship and deeply silly when it tries for big comic moments. (The scene where Luce teaches Rachel the proper way to scream at a soccer match by pressing on her diaphragm is neither sexy nor funny - just strange.)

And the pop song? It's the Turtles' ``Happy Together,'' which, like ``I Say a Little Prayer'' in ``My Best Friend's Wedding,'' makes for a feel-good sing-along, best enjoyed with your fellow moviegoers as you race toward the exits.

Glenn Whipp, (818) 713-3672

glenn.whipp(at)dailynews.com

IMAGINE ME & YOU - Two stars

(R: language, sexual material)

Starring: Piper Perabo, Lena Headey, Matthew Goode.

Director: Ol Parker.

Running time: 1 hr. 33 min.

Playing: Laemmle's Sunset 5 in West Hollywood; Landmark's NuWilshire in Santa Monica.

In a nutshell: You'd think a lesbian romantic comedy starring Piper Perabo and Lena Headey would have something for everyone. You'd be wrong.

CAPTION(S):

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Photo:

Wedding florist Luce (Lena Headey, left) catches the eye - and the fancy - of almost-a-bride Rachel (Piper Perabo) in the lesbian romantic comedy ``Imagine Me & You.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 27, 2006
Words:465
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