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The Vow

2012-05-14 15:44
 
Review:

Rachel McAdams wakes up in the hospital after a serious car accident with no memory of the past five years of her life and discovers she's married to Channing Tatum, lives in a spacious, boho-chic loft and has a successful career as a Chicago artist.

That wouldn't suck, right?

Nevertheless, she must reject this foreign existence in her confused state because the plot of The Vow requires some conflict.

This old-fashioned amnesia tale would seem totally implausible and manufactured for maximum melodrama; as it turns out, director Michael Sucsy's film is indeed based on a true story. But it might have been even more compelling with some different casting.

McAdams, as the perplexed Paige, is her usual likable self and Tatum, as Leo, once again proves he's an actor of greater depth than his hunky good looks might suggest.

But what if Paige woke up and found she was married to someone who looked like, say, Paul Giamatti? That might have offered an intriguing little wrinkle. He loves her fiercely and madly and deeply and all those intense proclamations meant to make the teen girls in the audience swoon. He's willing to fight for her, to help her retrace how they met and what their life together was like in hopes of jogging her memory.

He's even prepared to withstand the condescension and disapproval of her wealthy parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), who wanted her to become a lawyer and from whom she's been estranged all this time. But he looks like Paul Giamatti.

Instead, The Vow serves as a series of precise if obvious moments and emotional cues we must endure en route to the inevitable reconciliation, complete with an intrusively heart-tugging score and too much explanatory voiceover from Tatum.

This includes flashbacks to Paige and Leo's meet-cute at the DMV, the chocolates they shared on their first date, the wacky, eclectic friends and the secret wedding they staged amid the paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, where Paige had been a student. (Leo's life, by the way, isn't nearly so well fleshed-out. His entire purpose seems to be the service of this woman.)

Give some credit to screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (He's Just Not That Into You) and Jason Katims (TV's Friday Night Lights): They remain faithful to the real-life story and don't magically restore Paige's memories.

But the smug parents and the jilted ex-fiance (Scott Speedman) who's all too happy to rekindle their old romance feel more like pat devices than real obstacles to ultimate happiness. (Lange, who won an Emmy for starring in Sucsy's Grey Gardens on HBO, does have one powerful moment of truth that helps Paige piece together her past.)

It's a nice idea: experiencing what it's like to fall in love all over again for the first time. McAdams and Tatum sometimes make the execution of it more tolerable than it should be, but not often enough.


Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum are perhaps too picture perfect to make this old-fashioned amnesia tale truly shine.

- AP

NEXT ON CHANNEL24X

A Most Wanted Man

2014-10-16 23:29

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Chareen 5/15/2012 10:37 AM
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Wow this is a must see, I really enjoyed what I saw and recommend this movie to everyone who enjoys a romantic story... Brings tears to my eyes!!!
Jeanette 5/21/2012 9:26 AM
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It's okay
Sandra 5/21/2012 9:51 AM
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Sounds like the curve balls in real life.. A MUST SEE
purplegail 5/21/2012 12:37 PM
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lovely......
Tessa 5/21/2012 2:25 PM
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I felt myself getting really annoyed with Paige for remembering half her life before Leo... but forgetting him. It came across as rather unrealistic and contrived for me but gorgeous to watch nonetheless. Stunning shots of Chicago and I just LOVE their artsy urban apartment!! Oh and if I had a boyfriend, I'd totally want him to steal Leo's style. Any Channing Tatum fan will love this!!
Alzet Steenkamp 5/22/2012 8:41 AM
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LOVED IT! MY FIANCE SAID HE WOULD BE THERE FOR ME JUST LIKE LEO WAS FOR PAIGE!
Danielle Hunter 5/22/2012 12:20 PM
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Whoever does not think that Channing Tatum is sexy and dame hot needs their heads read. I would definitely go see any movie that he stars in but what really gripped me about this movie was the sense of maturity that his part played, unlike a lot of parts he had played before. Co-starring with Rachel McAdams in a movie that would jerk at anyones heart strings (especially if you a girl) and bring on the tissues this movie is definitely a must see for couples whether new ones till the old ones. It makes us all realize and stop and think about the vows we took or the promises we make to our partners and whether we would be there no matter what. Definitely a must see for all.
Jojo 5/22/2012 1:38 PM
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Tessa it's called retrograde amnesia. That's what happens in real life. Open a book chick.
Carmen 5/22/2012 4:27 PM
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Brilliant
Shaun Smith 5/22/2012 7:53 PM
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someone please wake me, even my wife found it as boring as hell, hang if you have to see a chick flik at least let's have some chemistry, non existent.
Susan de Jager 7/27/2012 11:43 AM
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Loved the movie! So different from the normal chickflick and amazing to think it was based on real accounts. Makes you think about TRUE love. If I was in his shoes, I would probably have dealt with it in much more of a "claws showing" manner. But, he loved her enough to let her go and be, now that (in my books anyway) is LOVE!
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