The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, is the kind of mushy movie that’ll appeal to anyone who still gets teary-eyed watching The Notebook for the third time.
Tatum and McAdams play a bohemian young married couple, who get into an accident on a snowy Chicago night. He’s all right, but she wakes up from a coma with the last five years wiped clean from her memory, and with no recognition of the stranger in front of her who says he’s her husband. It’s up to him now to win her love all over again, and to get her to choose the life they had together, instead of gravitating back to the past that she’d abandoned…including her snotty, controlling parents, a smarmy fiancé, and a boring career in law.
Tatum and McAdams have a comfortable chemistry, but the romantic scenarios in the film range from occasionally endearing to nauseatingly schmaltzy. In one flashback scene, he asks her to move in with him by spelling it out with blueberries on a breakfast plate. In another scene, a visibly unwell McAdams opens a gift box containing cute recovery items that he’s sent her, while Tatum stands outside in the pouring rain.
Although it packs in all the usual trademarks of a sappy Nicholas Sparks-style adaptation, The Vow claims to be based on a true story. And those are always the ones you least believe. Not because the premise seems implausible… No! Because by the time it’s been Hollywood-ised and sent through the studio machinery, it comes out looking like any other gooey rom-com intended to melt the hearts of its 16-year-old female demographic.
I’m going with a generous two out of five for The Vow. Chicks will dig Tatum as the beefcake with a soft, sensitive heart. Just don’t expect anything more.