Movie Review: “The Vow”

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I like the fluffy tearjerkers just as much as anyone else, although I may pretend otherwise, but a love story without an actual love story is one that I can’t get behind. “The Vow” is supposed to be about love lost and found, but instead it’s a muddled film without any direction and certainly without any representation of love or passion.

Based on a true story, Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are a young married couple who are deep in hipster love. She has an art studio and he has a music recording studio, both in marital bliss. However, everything changes when the two are involved in a car accident that wipes Paige’s memory clean of the past five years. She wakes up a different person, before she made the life decisions that led her to marrying Leo. While her family is using her memory loss as a way to rewrite history, Leo spends the time trying to get Paige to fall in love with him all over again.

“The Vow” never summons up enough passion or character believability to make the audience care what happens in the end. No one in the film has chemistry, be it romantically or friendly. We are told that Leo and Paige had this whirlwind love prior to the accident but even while they’re supposedly falling in love for a second time, a time that should be rife with desire and electricity, we see two people that sort of like each other but can probably do without.

One of the major issues is that the script was split apart, written by three different people, including the director Jason Katims. In watching the film it really does seem that each person decided to take on certain pieces of the film, leaving “The Vow” discombobulated and without any sort of cohesion. There are a few moments that garner a laugh but overall you’re left waiting for something, anything, to happen. The film crawls at the same pace and functions off one note. Even with the issues the characters are going through (memory loss, fighting for love, family relationships, etc.) there is never a peak, never a dramatic rise and fall. The film carries on, never changing, as if the film itself can’t even pretend to try.

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum don’t necessarily do a poor job; they do what they can with what they’re given. Paige is bubbly, Leo is broody, and there’s not much else to the characters. However, Jessica Lange is a breathtaking welcome as Paige’s mother. Lange has the only scene in the entire movie that emotionally resonates, forcing you to ultimately realize what the rest of the film is severely lacking.

With characters that are static and without depth and a screenplay that doesn’t know where it wants to take the story, “The Vow” moves along at an excruciatingly slow pace without anything of substance to make it memorable.

To quote the five-year-old boy sitting in the row behind me: “I don’t like this.”


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