Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams star in this entertaining love story that benefits from some winning performances and a fun script but suffers from a generous helping of soppiness. It may seem cynical to say it, but the romantic elements just feel a bit too fake and the good intentions of the central couple aren’t that believable either. Of course, the movie tries to make up for this by being based on a true story but it still feels like a sweetened, sanitised version of real events – which may well be what it is. This isn’t the worst thing for The Vow to be accused of, mind you. It does exactly what it sets out to do and it does it well. What you get is a sweet date movie that will please many female audience members thanks to an attractive and likeable male lead while also making the experience as painless as possible for many male audience members, thanks to an attractive and likeable female lead and some fun dialogue.
Tatum stars as Leo, a loving husband who finds his whole world teetering over an abyss after a terrible car crash lands his wife, Paige (McAdams), in a coma. Thankfully, Paige doesn’t die but when she finally regains consciousness she’s very different from the woman that Leo knew and he has to try everything that he can to make her remember their love for each other.
With a cast that includes the two leads plus Jessica Lange, Sam Neill, Jessica McNamee, Wendy Crewson and Scott Speedman, The Vow isn’t short of cast members doing their best to make the whole film a better experience. Lange and Neill, in particular, are excellent as the parents of Paige who find themselves with an unexpected second chance that they want to grasp with both hands.
The script mixes just enough humour through everything to stop it being eye-rollingly bad but it still has to contain so much sweetness that diabetics may do well to give this one a miss. Director Michael Sucsy is happy to translate everything from page to screen with little fuss, he goes by the standard presentation we’ve seen in thousands of other romantic movies. Whoever picked the soundtrack should be publicly flogged for going with such a bland and/or mawkish selection but that’s the very worst aspect of a film that turns out to be surprisingly watchable from a beginning that tells you the events are based on a true story to an end that gives you a current update on those involved.
You could certainly pick many worse movies for a “date night” selection.
The DVD, released last week, comes with a director’s commentary, deleted scenes and a gag reel. It’s also contained within some awful pink packaging, which at least makes it clear that this is an unashamed “chick flick”.
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL SUCSY
WRITER: JASON KATIMS, ABBY KOHN, MARC SILVERSTEIN, STUART SENDER (STORY)
STARS: RACHEL MCADAMS, CHANNING TATUM, JESSICA LANGE, SAM NEILL, JESSICA MCNAMEE, WENDY CREWSON, SCOTT SPEEDMAN, TATIANA MASLANY, LUCAS BRYANT
RUNTIME: 104 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: USA, BRAZIL, FRANCE, AUSTRALIA, UK, GERMANY