The large “IF” — as in “imaginary good friend” — in John Krasinski’s treacly children dramedy is a grizzly-sized purple goon who goes by the identify Blue. The boy who conjured him was colorblind, he explains. Blue (voiced by Steve Carell) is one among dozens of dreamed-up creatures in Brooklyn who lengthy for his or her now-grown BFFs to recollect they exist.

On the Reminiscence Lane Retirement Group beneath Coney Island, there’s additionally a pink alligator (Maya Rudolph), a superhero canine (Sam Rockwell), a worn teddy (Louis Gossett Jr.), a retro cartoon butterfly (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), a robotic (Jon Stewart), an astronaut (George Clooney), a glass of ice water (Bradley Cooper), a gummy bear (Amy Schumer), a unicorn (Emily Blunt), a flower (Matt Damon), a cat in an octopus costume (Blake Vigorous), a ghost (Matthew Rhys), a cleaning soap bubble (Awkwafina), some inexperienced slime (Keegan-Michael Key), and an invisible blob who the credit declare is none aside from Brad Pitt.

What’s extra spectacular: Krasinski’s creativeness or the very actual pals in his Rolodex?

Most of those characters merely stroll via the body to say howdy, or whine to one another in group remedy. But these celeb cameos take up about as a lot area because the plot, a mild, slim story about an unflappable 12-year-old woman named Bea (Cailey Fleming) who helps a crank named Cal (Ryan Reynolds) play matchmaker for the lonely IFs.

If — and this can be a rhetorical if — you’re nonetheless traumatized by the final shot of Bing Bong, the forgotten imaginary good friend in Pixar’s “Inside Out,” breathe straightforward. There’s no existential risk (or narrative rigidity) about what may occur if the goofy gang stays consigned to oblivion. Palling about with children once more simply sounds good.

Bea, a solemn preteen with stick-straight hair, is the one youngster capable of see all the IFs, which is difficult to reconcile with the truth that she additionally looks like the oldest little woman on the earth; Reynolds, her foil, is frequently solid because the world’s most immature man, though right here he’s been dialed all the way down to a benevolent grouch. Together with her mom useless, her father (Krasinski) within the hospital, and her grandmother (Fiona Shaw) distracted watching Jimmy Stewart’s “Harvey” on TV, Bea is free to roam the streets of New York — which, to the man children within the viewers, is perhaps as extraordinary as all the pictures of her strolling slowly via bedazzled fantasies. (The standout, odd because it sounds, is a musical quantity set to Tina Turner’s “Higher Be Good to Me,” that’s wholly divorced from its erotic context.)

Any youngster over 5 will predict the Keyser Söze twist in Bea and Cal’s relationship. However this can be a movie that spells out its intentions for an viewers nonetheless studying its ABCs, a movie the place Michael Giacchino’s misty violins by no means cease insisting how you can really feel, the place Krasinski’s goofy dad actually wears a coronary heart on his chest.

Krasinski has the worthy purpose of constructing a youngsters’s film with an air of status — like his characters, he’s striving to be remembered gone opening weekend — and so the cinematographer Janusz Kaminski obligingly fills the display screen with good-looking photographs of spiral staircases and leather-bound books. Nonetheless, solely two scenes accomplish the transcendence Krasinski is after, and each contain the best of all particular results: a shot of an grownup human being that asks us to make use of our personal imaginations to see the kid inside.

Rated PG. Operating time: 1 hour 44 minutes. In theaters.

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