Some movies are released that really leaves me scratching my head. I ask myself “How on Earth did this movie get made?” Such was the case with “The Vow”, yet another poorly acted and poorly written entry in the hurting romantic comedy genre. I was honestly dumbfounded that “The Vow” saw the light of day. But after seeing the movie rake in almost $200 million worldwide, I was reminded that there is an audience for this type of shallow and unoriginal storytelling.
“The Vow” offers nothing original. It almost comes across as a slightly better looking mid-day soap opera. Tell me if you’ve heard this before. Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are a happy young married couple. While heading home after a movie the two are involved in a car accident. Paige is thrown from the car and experiences severe head trauma. As she recovers, Leo stays by her side waiting for her to regain consciousness. When she does, as you can probably guess, she has amnesia and doesn’t recognize Leo. Yes, they really went there.
Things are complicated when her parents enter the mix. In pre-amnesia times, Paige’s relationship with her parents was nonexistent. They use her memory loss as an opportunity to jump back into her life. This pits them against Leo in an attempt to win her affection while she struggles to remember her old life. Throw in Scott Speedman as Jeremy, her ex-fiancee who she split up with prior to meeting Leo. Of course he wants back in her life and sees Paige’s memory loss as his ticket in.
Most of problems with “The Vow” can be traced back the shoddy writing. There’s not one single character mentioned above that feels authentic. They are all paper-thin versions of characters we’ve seen so many times before. The movie hinges upon the love between Paige and Leo. Unfortunately I never bought into them as a couple. Their dialogue is so silly and tripe and neither of the performers are believable. A lot of people like Channing Tatum as an actor but I’m still not sold on him. He delivers so many flat, stone-faced lines and I often found myself laughing at scenes not intended to be funny. McAdams tries her best but the material she is given is so incredibly slight and superficial.
There are instances where “The Vow” teases you into thinking it’s going in a more unconventional directions. But that’s never the case. Sure the ending isn’t the straightforward run-of-the-mill mush that we usually see, but it’s also not enough to save the film which labors from start to finish. Weak material and Tatum’s poor lead performance end up killing the movie before it even gets going. So I find myself again lamenting the status of the romantic comedy, a genre that I actually like but that is bombarded with poor movie after poor movie. But I guess as long as people keep paying money to see them, this is what we can expect.