Another Friday, and another rom-com from Hollywood. The Vow, however, is inspired by true events - a fact that may make you want to look at it in a different light, rather than dismiss it altogether as just another mushy date movie.
Within the first 10 minutes of the film, Leo (Chaning Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams), a happily married young couple, are hurt in an accident. While Leo gets away with superficial injuries, Paige is put in a coma so that she heals while her swellings subside. The devoted husband spends all his free time at his wife's bedside, and reminisces on how they met, and how they got married in an art museum, and other such memories.
So imagine his shock when Paige wakes up and thinks that he is her doctor. In short, she has a form of amnesia, and, as a result, the last 5 years are a complete blank. Even worse, Paige's parents (Jessica Lange and Sam Neill), to whom she has not spoken to in half a decade, appear at the hospital and try to take her home with them.
A determined Leo manages to get her back to his home instead, in the hope that the familiar surroundings will bring her memory back. He is patiently helpless as he sleeps on the couch, and puts up with her erratic mood swings. Since she still lives in the past, Paige even tries to hook up with her once-fiancÃ©, Jeremy (Scott Speedman).
To begin with, Leo is a rather maudlin character. One is never sure whether he genuinely wants to be a martyr, or is just indifferent to anybody else's feelings but his own. What must have been a heartbreaking real story has been rehashed into a soppy, mawkish script that seems somewhat fantastical. The sweetness can be a bit overwhelming, especially in the case of Leo. Even in the initial stages of courtship, it is Leo who gets all the "awww" lines and actions.
The movie cannot be called melodramatic, but it has its moments of over-the-top mush. Certain incidents are blown out of proportion to justify the theatrical flow in the story, but at no point does it seem to touch a chord in your heart. Much like a Danielle Steele novel, The Vow endorses a "perfect" world, where nobody has a single mean bone in his or her body.
From the time that Paige realises that she has amnesia, till the last scene, the movie leaves even the most romantic person wanting more. The narration, too, seems a bit disjointed.
Chaning Tatum is considered one of the biggest teenage heartthrobs from Hollywood at present, but his acting leaves a lot to be desired. He is a treat to the eyes, but his mumbled lines and constant deep voice can get on to your nerves. He is quite unconvincing as the selfless, near-perfect Leo.
Rachel McAdams, on the other hand, has more spunk. She flits in and out her past-Paige and present-Paige characters with ease. Paige is a selfish, spoilt, daddy's girl, trying to find her niche in the world, and is therefore a more interesting character.
The supporting actors look slightly uninterested in the portrayal of their respective characters. The best amongst the lot is Wendy Crewson, who plays Paige's sympathetic doctor, with ease. The others, besides the parents, seem irrelevant to the story, and could have been done away with, easily.
Production design, limited as it is to sets such as the bohemian house and hospital rooms, is decent, although not as realistic as the story demands. The snowfall that causes a dumper to hit the car does not seem dense enough to warrant such disastrous events, for example. The music, on the other hand, suits the mood of each sequence, and is arranged appropriately.
The Vow does not deliver anything unique, nor is it entirely soulless. Watch it if you have nothing else to do - and marvel again at the fact that a similar series of events actually took place not so long ago. Wonder what that couple will have to say about the movie, though.