The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Vow | Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange | Review

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  3_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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The Vow | Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange | Review

Before the opening credits even finish rolling, Paige (Rachel McAdams) is thrown through the windshield of a car, coming to rest, bloody and unconscious, on its hood.  Suffering brain trauma, she stays in a medically-induced coma for months before regaining consciousness, awakening to a world where memories of her courtship and marriage to husband Leo (Channing Tatum) have been erased.

Paige can only remember life before Leo, when a drastically different set of circumstances made her a person Leo doesn’t recognize either.  The couple tries to resume their relationship but can manage only the pleasantries that polite strangers exchange.

Suddenly Paige’s estranged parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange) infiltrate her life, imposing law school and Jeremy (Scott Speedman) an ex-fiancé on her fragile mindset.  Leo is an outsider, trying desperately to get Paige to remember their romantic, happy, bohemian life together, back when Paige was a successful sculptor, but her studio is as alien to her as a Martian landscape.

An emotional tug of war follows and tensions flare; Leo’s heart breaks over and over again in his quest to retrieve his wife’s past memories.  The couple’s journey forks into two very different paths as Paige’s parents take advantage of her amnesia to guide her back onto avenues that she had previously rejected.

Leo gives up and separate lives go on for the two.  As you can imagine, the film goes on as well in a cutesy, melodramatic way that satisfies female teens, moms, and Harlequin Romance aficionados.

Based on true events, The Vow would have been better as a documentary about Kim and Krickitt Carpenter the couple to whom the accident/amnesia really happened.  That way, reality could overpower the requisite schmaltz and contrived conflict.

Kim’s book (he’s the husband) was the film’s inspiration, and it’s a good bet that he and Krickitt don’t recognize what’s been portrayed about their lives either.

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum have an undeniable onscreen chemistry that helps in one-on-one moments that work.  Sam Neill and Jessica Lange make unconvincing villains, but Scott Speedman as ex-fiancé Jeremy is sufficiently oily and one-note to pound the message home:  Leo Good – Jeremy Bad.

In fact, everything’s pounded home like a spigot in a Vermont maple tree; that’s how you get the sap to run.

Director Michael Sucsy (Grey Gardens) succeeds in making a story about forgetting ultimately forgettable.  The players are personable enough.  The setting (allegedly in Chicago but shot in Toronto) is workable enough.  The plot works well enough as a date move.

Except it’s not enough.

That scraping sound you hear is made from hundreds of reluctant boyfriends’ shoes raking the pavement as they’re dragged to see The Vow by determined dates looking to clone them into the uber-devoted Leo.

Now that might be worth the price of a movie ticket.

Three Chicks



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