Saturday, 28 January 2012
FILM REVIEW: THE VOW
Just how far would you go for love? Or more precisely, to reclaim your love? In The Vow, a romantic drama "inspired by real events", a car accident sees one half of a married couple lose part of her memory -- her entire relationship with her husband -- and the other half of the couple trying desperately to bring it - and win her - back.
Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are a happily married Chicago couple, seemingly still in the honeymoon phase of their marriage, when fate, disguised as a big ass truck, intervenes; smashing into their parked car and sending Paige through the windscreen.
She survives the accident but once she wakes from her induced coma it seems a chunk of her memory didn't. Paige can't remember ever having met Leo, let alone marrying him and making a life with him. I'm an artist? I was studying law. Who's the President? Obama?! And if we're married, why don't you know my parents?
Paige's parents are played by Sam Neill and Jessica Lange, who are given scant to do but fill the role of well-moneyed wasps and minor villains. They don't much care for Leo and they see their daughter's predicament as an opportunity to repair their once strained relationship.
All the while, Leo is competing against the in-laws, Paige's ex-boyfriend (a smarmy Scott Speedman), and Paige herself, struggling to come to terms with the Paige that Leo so loves, to win his wife back.
Surprisingly, it's Channing Tatum who walks away with 'best in show' honours in The Vow. His lovesick puppy look works for the material, even more so when he doesn't speak (and shirtless doesn't hurt either). McAdams, always a warm screen presence, who has yet to find that great role following her breakthrough in 2004's The Notebook, is again likeable here but for the most part she's outperformed by her changing hairstyles.
But neither can overcome the flatness at which all of these events play out. There are no peaks or valleys; everything unfolds on the same lacklustre wavelength. And for a romantic drama, The Vow is seriously lacking in both departments as well as any sense of urgency (it's a long 104 minutes).
Whether that has to do with the direction of feature film debutant, Michael Sucsy (who made the acclaimed television miniseries Grey Gardens, with Drew Barrymore and Ms. Lange), or the five credited screenwriters (including Sucsy) is probably six of one and half a dozen of the other.
You won't be missing anything if you don't choose The Vow as your date night viewing this Valentine's Day, and much like McAdams' Paige, you'll soon forget it if you do.