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'Imagine' proves to be perky yet predictable

''Imagine Me & You" is a perky English romantic comedy about a newlywed who falls for the woman who did the flowers at her wedding. The florist, Luce (Lena Headey), is openly gay. The wife, Rachel (Piper Perabo), is not. But the married woman finds herself intensely yet inexplicably drawn to her new friend. You know the rest. The story is as old as the hills -- and as timely as ''Brokeback Mountain," though scarcely as good.

Rachel and Luce meet at Rachel's wedding and exchange glances that say, ''By the time this movie is over, we'll be gardening together." Rachel invites Luce over to dinner. When her husband, Heck (Matthew Goode), has to stay late at work, he asks Luce to take his wife to a soccer match, where Luce suggestively wraps her arms around Rachel's tummy to teach her how to project when talking smack to the players.

Luce is also happy to use her botanical expertise as a romantic prompt. The lily, she tells Rachel on the way home one night, says, '' 'I dare you to love me.' " Throughout ''Imagine Me & You," I wished someone would dare say something interesting.

Alas, this is the sort of movie in which all anyone talks about is love and every scene is interrupted by the arrival of characters who, due either to cosmic coincidence or mediocre screenwriting, happen to run into one another at the darnedest times. Take the moment, for instance, when Rachel is renting lesbian porn and her mother pops into the store. These sorts of encounters are meant to be comic, but the writer and director Ol Parker keeps them coming until your tolerance is shot.

Because ''Imagine Me & You" is an upbeat movie about being who you are, the ending, which involves a London car chase, is happy. It's also recycled from the British romantic comedy of your choice. The only suspense is whether we'll get to hear the contagious Turtles song that seems to have inspired this movie -- or at least its title. (We do.)

This movie's crime isn't that it's predictable. It's that it lacks enough wit for you to enjoy how by-the-numbers it is. Even so, ''Imagine Me & You" is bound to leave some people in stitches and others touched anyway. But if it's a decent tale of the young and the comically Sapphic you crave, I'd be derelict not to urge you to rent ''Go Fish" or ''The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love," a couple of movies where bliss isn't canned.

Wesley Morris can be reached at

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