Actually sort of based on a true story, The Vow stars Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams as Leo and Paige, a married couple who face a horrible reality: after getting in a car crash, she can't remember the last several years of her life, including her husband or their marriage. Let's just say Leo spends a lot of time sleeping on the couch. And that Paige can never get on his case if he ever forgets an anniversary.
I had the opportunity to see The Vow when it was playing in theaters, for free, but decided to stay at home and eat Mexican food because that sounded like the better option at the time. Now that it's out on DVD, I decided to give it a chance, meaning that I was ready and excited to write a scathing review about the latest Channing Tatum debacle.
I was pleasantly surprised.
The Vow is not a great movie. Given the circumstances that unfold, the movie could have played out as a hard-hitting drama, but instead it's merely a cute date movie where nothing too bad happens (well, other than the woman banging her head and entirely forgetting her husband). But as far as cute date movies go, The Vow isn't half-bad.
Tatum is, as he's admitted himself, not a great actor, and The Vow definitely expects more out of him than he can deliver. But he and McAdams have surprisingly great chemistry together, which trumps his sometimes flat performance. Even though he's rough around the edges, paired with McAdams he is able to effectively convey how much he loves his wife, how frustrated he is by the turn of events that occur (not only does she not remember him, but she doesn't remember breaking up with her old college flame, quitting law school or distancing herself from her scheming family) and how much he just wants things to go back to normal.
While tame at times in its delivery, The Vow also works because it is, at least in terms of plot, unconventional. While you assume the movie is one where the two stars will end up together in the end, it isn't completely assured - and the path they take to get there does not involve the typical romantic movie escapades.
The Vow is a surprisingly okay movie and one of Channing Tatum's better films. The movie relies less on his acting ability than the chemistry between him and McAdams, but isn't that what romantic dramas are all about?
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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