'The Vow' presents intriguing premise, but largely disappointsSaturday, March 03, 2012 By Jack H. Evans
Usually, reluctantly being dragged to a movie by a group of friends can turn out one of two ways: either the movie is pretty good; or, it is The Vow (or some equally horrendous example). The film, directed by Michael Sucsy and based on the true story of husband and wife Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, pulled $41.2 million at the box office in its opening weekend, but certainly leaves a lot to be desired. The Vow follows the tale of married couple Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige Collins (Rachel McAdams). When Paige is severely injured in a car accident, she loses a chunk of her memory, including that of meeting, dating, and marrying Leo. Most of the film is comprised of Leo’s attempts to re-romance Paige, as well as deal with her family, whom he has never met until this point. While this seems like a unique, charming idea, the plot doesn’t quite live up to the premise. While The Vow does have a couple of heartstring-tugging moments, the plot is disappointingly dull, especially in the middle parts. Paige’s struggles and Leo’s depression and moodiness are the two monotonous constants, and most of the storyline is rather forgettable. The writing is typical of a mainstream romantic drama. Sweet, gushy, dime-a-dozen lines are delivered left and right, and the dialogue is predictable, excluding a few comedic quips here and there. The writing here might be The Vow’s primary downfall: despite the 2/3 dull plot, had the writing been improved, it could’ve actually been an interesting film. The one minor bright spot here is the fact that the acting isn’t as atrocious as one might expect. The support does an average job of playing their roles, though they aren’t amazing. And, though Tatum is by no means a spectacular actor, he works well with what he has, giving a decent (if, at times, melodramatic) performance. But it’s McAdams who really shines here. Having previously starred in The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife, it’s clear that romances are her bread and butter. Her performance is convincing and compelling, and, while it’s not enough to save The Vow, it is its one memorable feature. The Vow probably could’ve been worse – but it also could have been a lot better. Nothing about the movie quite lives up to its potential. It does have its moments, and it could work well as a date movie or a romantic last resort. While this probably won’t be the worst movie you’ll ever be dragged to, please don’t go see The Vow of your own free will. Overall rating: 3/10 Jack H. Evans is the entertainment editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.