Review: The Vow
PLOT: Life couldn't be better for Paige and Leo. While they don't have a ton of money - although you couldn't tell that from their lifestyle they have an undying love for each other which could never be torn apart. Or can it? After the couple moronically decides to fool around at a stop sign on ice covered streets in freezing cold weather, a truck careens into them leaving her in a coma. When she finally comes to, her memory of her husband and all that they shared is wiped clean. Can he remain true to his vow and make her fall in love with him again? Or will she start a brand new life with somebody new?
There is one truly inspired moment in the latest ripe for Valentines flick THE VOW directed by Michael Sucsy. The scene involves Jessica Lange who plays mother to an amnesiac played by Rachel McAdams. She tells her daughter about a painful choice she had to make, and exactly why she made it. Ms. Lange (a recent Golden Globe winner for American Horror Story) brings the material up a few notches and nearly brought a tear to my eye. In fact, she and Sam Neill as her husband give the feature a touch of class which is rounded out by the impressive chemistry of the films two stars, Channing Tatum and McAdams. If it hadnt been for the strong performances, THE VOW might have been on par with a bad Lifetime movie of the week.
To be fair, this is most assuredly another case of critic be damned. The audience for this type of romantic drama is one looking for escapism. They are looking for a larger-than-life cinematic romance between a charming leading lady and a handsome leading man. For that, they get what they want. Forget about the fact that the script has the subtlety of a cheap Valentines Day card. They might even forget that the reason the leading lady is left without her memory is because the couple stupidly decide to get frisky in the car, on a dark and snowy night with ice covered streets, stopped by a stop sign on the freaking road! Yes, we know, there is about to be a terrible accident because it is in the trailer but do you have to make the lovers so incapable of reasonable thought.
The story revolves around a married couple named Paige and Leo (McAdams and Tatum). The two share a life full of romance and passion with a ton of cute quirks. She is a sculptor getting ready for an exhibit. He is the owner of a struggling music studio. For a couple that have no money, they seem pretty well off. Yet it is all about the love story as we are told by Leo about moments in life that shape who we are (I may be paraphrasing). The accident that leaves her in a coma and ultimately an amnesiac is shown during the opening credits so that leaves plenty of time for moments leading us up to date. That is when we get to the point of the story. When they married, Leo made the VOW that he would love Paige in all her many forms (or something like that) and he tries desperately to keep his word, even if she pulls away because she has no memory of her wedded bliss.
McAdams is wonderful as the confused bride, who suddenly has her estranged family returning into her life (Lange and Neill). And yes, Tatum is very impressive as a heartbroken man who watches the love of his life drift away from his grasp. If only these talented actors had a better script to work with. So much of the dialogue really doesnt work and feels much too obvious. Every person here seems to constantly need to explain how they feel to the other, when a simple touch or look may have sufficed. This is an impossibly romantic tale that could have and in all fairness, it probably will for many audiences bringing boxes of tissue as they wipe away their tears. Then again, for a deeply implausible based on a true story fable, you could do much worse.
While it would be tough for me to recommend this much higher than what I have, the truth is that I am not the demographic for THE VOW. Yet if it hadnt been for the weak dialogue and a few unnecessary side characters (friends of Paige and Leo) this could have really pulled me in. The idea of watching the love of your life fade from your grasp is prime fodder for a romantic fable. Those looking for a romance this Valentines Day will most likely get satisfaction from Leos sweetly romantic gestures and the near tragic accident taking all those precious moments away from memory. Let us not forget about how many ladies will give embarrassed squeals when Tatum reveals his naked behind. This is made for the ladies looking for romance on a Hallmark holiday. It just happens to have a lot more talent than youd expect from this sort of thing.
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|Extra Tidbit:||Seriously, if you wake up from a coma and Rachel McAdams or Channing Tatum come in claiming that you are the love of their life, would you have any doubts?|