Both actors have had their share of romantic film roles, but McAdams’ portrayal of Allie in “The Notebook” might be the most memorable. I’ve seen this movie countless times and still find myself wiping away tears by its end. I didn’t have the same reaction to “The Vow,” but it will still resonate with anyone who loves being in love.
Leo (Tatum) serves as the narrator of this love story, which he describes through “moments of impact.” He lives the life of a bachelor until he meets Paige (McAdams) at the DMV. He’s charming, she’s pretty, and it works.
Their coffee date turns into falling in love, moving in and having a quickie wedding at the Chicago Art Institute where she is a student. They read their wedding vows, which they have both hastily scribbled on a menu from the place where they had their first date. Soul mates, they think to themselves.
When heavy snow, a stop sign, a kiss and a large truck collide one night, everything changes. A car accident leaves them both injured. Paige suffers from a broken memory, and Leo, a broken heart.
She has no recollection of her husband. All she remembers is being engaged to Jeremy (Scott Speedman), law school and her affluent parents, Bill (Sam Neill) and Rita (Jessica Lange). However, Leo is willing to do whatever he can do help her remember the life they had together, even if he means making his own personal sacrifices.
It’s hard to watch this movie and not think about “The Notebook.” It’s obviously a similar premise: Two people from different backgrounds, trying to make love work through better and worse.
However, I also thought about “50 First Dates,” one of my favorite movies. Lucy (Drew Barrymore) is suffering from major memory loss following a severe car accident, and Henry (Adam Sandler) wants to be her hero. The story is the same as “The Vow,” but I prefer Sandler’s version.
Paige is too calm for someone who has suffered this type of trauma. Instead of really trying to learn about her current life, it’s as if she shrugs her shoulders instead. She is more willing to run back home to her parents’ affluence in Lake Forest and forget about her accident. But can you blame her? What would you do?
It’s hard to watch Leo endure the emotional trauma over something that seems like a lost cause. He struggles in trying to help her not only remember him, but fall in love again. As the film alternates between flashbacks and the current situation, the pieces come together about Paige’s past and offer hints into her future.
Tatum is believable as the grieving husband, and McAdams continues to cement her role as the lead in romantic films. “The Vow” is what you expect it to be: romantic, charming and cute. It wasn’t too sappy, and the large number of men in the audience was able to make it through. It’s a decent film and even manages to incorporate humor throughout it.
However, it obviously isn’t intended to be overwhelmingly great. People who like these types of movies are only going for one thing: A warm, fuzzy feeling.
This, coupled with the fuss and slick marketing of Valentine’s Day, goes to show that it will accomplish just that. “The Vow” is a bearable film, whether you see it willingly ... or by force.