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Nation's critics give Eddie Murphy's Denver-filmed flick two thumbs sideways

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As Patricia Calhoun implies in this morning's Wake-Up Call, Imagine That, the new Eddie Murphy flick, much of which was filmed in Denver circa 2007, hasn't exactly enraptured those film reviewers still fortunate enough to have a job. Metacritic.com, a website that compiles critiques from a variety of sources and then averages them to arrive at an overall score, awards the picture a 54 out of 100 -- better than Obsessed (which garnered a 25) and Land of the Lost (32), but worse than The Hangover (73), Adventureland (76), Up (88) and plenty of other current releases.

On an individual basis, the kindest review came from TV Guide (not exactly a favorite publication of cineastes), which graded out at an 88 for an analysis that declares, "By no means a landmark, but it is a remarkably pleasant surprise -- so few movies aimed for the whole family show an understanding of why it's actually healthy to pretend." On the opposite end of the scale, the New York Post's piece is rated at 25, and judging by the line excerpted by Metacritic -- "Cutesy? My pain was acutesy as the entire plot yawned before me" -- this tally is probably generous.

The digits suggest Imagine That will take its place in local-movie history alongside such Denver-filmed works of genius as 1992's Ladybugs, a Rodney Dangerfield/Jackée Harry vehicle about the coach of a girls' soccer team who improves the squad by having his fiancée's son play in drag. No need to thank the Academy.

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