In “The Vow“, Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum play a young married couple in love that lose it all after deciding to have sex while driving.
Thus begins this years Valentine’s Day drama, narrated by an emotionally vacant Tatum.
While Tatum’s character, Leo, survives the accident unscathed, Paige, played by McAdams, sustains a brain injury that leaves her with amnesia.
Through out the course of the film we see Leo’s attempts to guide Paige through the life
she led with him as an emerging artist in the Chicago hipster scene.
But due to Paige only being able to recall life prior to Leo, filled with law school classes and a fiancé, she is unwilling to reclaim her lost memories.
Predictably, Paige’s estranged wealthy family serves as the films chief antagonists who try to take advantage of Paige’s amnesiac state in order bring her back into their fold and divorce Leo.
The film recognizes the serious issues it tackles like divorce, infidelity, estrangement and identity but fails to fully flesh out and deal with them as they are presented to the audience.
Rather it has issue after issue thrown at the viewer, the actors crying over the repercussions for a few minutes before moving forward, leaving things unresolved.
A prime example of this issue occurs midway through the movie when Leo is faced with the fact that his attempts at courting his wife have begun to take a severe toll on his recording studio business and employee relationships.
Within the 20 minutes the issue is introduced, it is forgotten.
Another badly handled issue, it being the main reason for Paige abandoning her family’s expectations, is quickly and sloppily resolved within five minutes of it being brought up.
Paige never confronts the culprit responsible for the debacle, resorting to simply shaming her mother for her choices.
McAdams’ acting chops are tested as she brings her character Paige to life and we sympathize with the characters choices through out the film.
The same cannot be said about Tatum.
Tatum seems to serve as the films chief eye candy, spending countless moments shirtless and discussing the tough topic of winning back his wife.
While McAdams does a fine job of switching from enamored to distant, Tatum displays the acting ability of a rock on fire.
Leo’s dialogue should have conveyed the characters emotional anguish as he slowly realized he was losing the battle to win his wife’s love, but Tatum’s inability to express human emotion makes one miss his pre-Hollywood silent stripper days.
Unlike its movie cousin, “50 First Dates“, the humor in “The Vow” is non-existent while caught up in juggling issue after unresolved issue. There are cute moments in the film but hardly enough to make it enjoyable or memorable.
My recommendation? It needs more Rob Schneider.