There’s nothing really wrong with The Vow on a basic romantic drama level, but there’s nothing that’s really right about it either. It’s a decent film in terms of acting and story, but it feels like something that’s been done before. Michael Sucsy‘s film is meant to bring out warm and fuzzy emotions that deal with rediscovering love and never giving up on your soul mate and that’s fine and dandy for the specific crowd the film pertains to, but for anyone else looking for something new; something that stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum haven’t done before, well then you’ll have to look elsewhere. The Vow is a highlight reel of their previous roles in other various romantic films they’ve been it. It’s not horrible, but it’s not that creative.
Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are the perfect couple. They’re deeply in love and very much content with their lives. They both have jobs that they’re passionate about and at the end of the day the best thing in their lives is each other. That’s all sort of thrown into the fryer when their car gets rear-ended, throwing both of them into the hospital. Leo wakes up with minor bumps and bruises, but Paige takes longer, slowly waking from a sleep without any recollection of the last few years spent with Leo.
She only remembers her life before Leo. Being the loving husband that he is, Leo tries his hardest to help Paige reconnect with him and everyone else in her life. Her absent parents come back into the picture and an old flame that she broke up with is suddenly interested again. Everything in Paige’s life is confusing and hard to grasp, while Leo is stuck trying his hardest to help Paige fall back in love with him. On top of that, Leo has bills stacking up and work going undone. Both Leo and Paige’s lives are at a standstill and neither of them is sure what to do.
The Vow makes for an acceptable film for Valentine’s Day. It’s not as commercial and shallow as most films that come out around this time of year, but it’s also not all that creative in the ways it goes about telling its story. Even its predictability is acceptable in hopes for a story about real, meant to be love. But the films sole existence is what holds it back from being anything but just another romantic drama. Every corner is seen from a mile away as Leo and Paige slowly start to draw closer and closer.
The film works better than most because of its two leads, Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. Both are veterans of the genre and know exactly how to charm the audience one minute and make them cry the next. I’ve always enjoyed Rachel McAdams in these films because she’s not your typical Hollywood bimbo. She’s usually smart or down to earth. She’s actually likable and someone that you wouldn’t mind actually being around. I’ve also come around to Channing Tatum. He’s had his fair share of truly horrible films, but lately he’s been getting smarter at picking his roles.
He fits in The Vow like a glove. He’s not the idiot airhead that most come to enjoy watching. He’s put in an unbelievably hard situation in this film, which allows for most of his usual antics to get excused. The guy’s been through hell and back losing his wife to memory, give him a break if his abs are perfectly sculpted. That’s also kind of a problem for his character in the film though, he’s just too perfect. Not once does he really slip or mess up, which is just ridiculous. No man is that caring and forgiving. He had many opportunities to let out his anger and vent within reason, but he always keeps his composure.
It’s almost irritating watching Channing Tatum play such a perfect man. It’s too much. At least Rachel McAdams‘ character messes up a few times, which is okay due to the stressful circumstances. But not good old Tatty Tatum, he’s rock solid from opening crash to ending snowfall.
I find it hard to really come down on films like The Vow because they’re going for a specific crowd. Their advertising isn’t trying to sell you something else. The trailers generally tell the whole film within two minutes, so it’s your own damn fault for paying the price of admission expecting something else. I knew what I was getting into and I didn’t hate the film entirely, I just found a lot of stuff that I’ve seen before. It almost moves a little too slow. Still, McAdams and Tatum do a fine job keeping things steady and even Sam Neill pops up for a little bit.
I’m sure the girlfriends will love this one and there’s no shame for the guys to enjoy it either. It’s a very safe film, rarely straying into any real danger or difficult scenarios. Everything just kind of works in its own little way, which will leave you content, but good films are about going beyond the state of content. The Vow isn’t one of those films, but in its defense, it never really set out to be.
The Vow – 6.5/10