Dreadfully contrived and syrupy, The Vow plays like a rejected Nicholas Sparks novel sugar-frosted with uneven acting, stereotyped characters, and such an incredibly boring script that it makes brushing your teeth seem more fun.
Starring Rachel McAdams and teak furniture Channing Tatum, The Vow is an overtly soapy love story full of cringe inducing plot points that unabashedly cater to the lowest-common-denominator audiences. As per screenwriters Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Jason Katims, the film is based on a true story but it seems too illogical and uninteresting to feel even remotely true or believable.
Paige (McAdams), an artist and Leo (Channing Tatum), a record studio owner are a young attractive happily married couple in Chicago. Fate takes a beating when a car accident inflicts upon Paige a head injury causing her to lose her memory of the last four years, including her marriage to Leo. She wakes up in the hospital and turns into her former self, an ultra-obedient law student in love with her ex-fiancé (Scott Speedman). Leo fails to come to terms with the fact that Paige thinks of him as a stranger, and to make matters worse, her wealthy estranged parents (Jessica Lange and Sam Neill) turn up and try to separate her from Leo.
The problem is that the film is neither realistic nor a farce – instead it trudges sloppily between both and at most times transcends into the downright ludicrous. Laughably, Leo spends more time telling his friends how much he cares about his wife instead of telling it to his wife. McAdams’ character is a bit like the trio in The Hangover, but instead of a hilarious naked man in a car trunk we get an unintentionally hilarious shirtless Channing Tatum desperately trying to churn out dramatic forlorn facial expressions. Tatum pretty much repeats his one-note character from the equally terrible Dear John while McAdams shows none of the charm that we saw in The Notebook or the recent State of Play.
Neither Tatum nor McAdams create characters worth caring about or even likable, and we don’t the least bit root for the two to end up together. You can see the clichéd ending coming from a mile away, but the film makes sure it hammers into your head the fact that true love always conquers all. If that weren’t enough, Tatum constantly trails off into irritating pseudo philosophical observational voiceover monologues like ‘moments of impact define who we are’.
A lame excuse of a date movie, The Vow is poorly written, lazily directed and acted and sweet enough to give you motion sickness. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy watching then do catch it as soon as possible.
(First published in MiD Day)