Movie review: 'The Vow' can't sustain a long-term commitment
The chemistry between confused Paige (Rachel McAdams) and tough-but-vulnerable Leo (Channing Tatum) is what makes this uneven romantic weepie worth sticking with, even if script problems might make you want a breakup.
Paige and Leo are young urban newlyweds with artsy vocations, an aspiring sculptor and recording engineer, and a family of assembled friends in attendance while the couple speak beautifully written vows in a guerrilla wedding ceremony at the Chicago Art Institute. After Paige suffers a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, she doesn't remember her husband or their four years together, or why she was estranged from her rich parents (Jessica Lange and Sam Neill).
Director Michael Sucsy (who directed Lange in the TV movie of "Grey Gardens") shows just enough restraint to avoid total collapse into the sweet frosting of sentimentality, even if he can't quite make a cogent story from a logically flawed script. (Why does a family betrayal cause Paige to drop out of law school, move into the city and change not just her hairstyle, but her entire personality?)
The movie is based on a true story, but this fictionalized version doesn't deliver fully developed characters, or interesting cameos from Lange or Neill, or even a satisfying ending. Instead, consider "The Vow" a love letter to Chicago, or a Valentine's Day movie fling about beautiful people learning about their emotions. Just don't expect a long-term cinematic partnership.
Earnest romance about the strength of wedding vows trumping amnesia relies on the on-screen chemistry of Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, but that isn't enough to paper over the script's logical problems.
Where • Theaters everywhere
When • Opens Friday, Feb. 10
Rating • PG-13 for suggestion of sex between a married couple and male partial nudity.
Running time • 104 minutes