Now Playing: The Shaky Marriage of Cliché and Creativity

I don’t have a problem with romance flicks in general, except when they feel like mash-ups of every other romantic drama out there. The concept of ‘The Vow’ has a lot of potential, but it’s bogged down by an unhealthy amount of recycled content.

‘The Vow’ opens with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum getting into a car after a late night movie. On the drive home, horny McAdams tells her husband that she wants to get hot and heavy in the car, so he parks at a stop sign in front of a snow-filled intersection for some sexy time. Just as McAdams gets her seat belt off, a semi slams on its brakes to avoid the car parked in the middle of the street and slides through the snow into the rear of it. As if we’re watching the opening credits of ‘Zombieland‘, we see a super slow-motion McAdams barrel halfway through the windshield.

For the next seemingly 30 minutes, we jump back and forth from the couple’s first meeting, their first date, their inexplicably odd wedding and home life to the present. Due to swelling of the brain, McAdams is in a medically-induced coma. When the swelling finally lessens, she’s brought back to consciousness only to have a mad case of amnesia. The last thing she remembers was from five years prior. She doesn’t remember Tatum, their life together or why she hasn’t spoken to her family in years. In her broken mind, everything is peachy with her family and she’s engaged to Scott Speedman. It’s impossible for her to understand why she married Tatum. (Frankly, I don’t understand it either.)

With the story at hand, you’d think that ‘The Vow’ was all about Tatum making McAdams fall in love with him again – but it’s not. It’s all about McAdams’ lame dad (Sam Neill), which is far less interesting and romantic than what anyone is expecting to see. A good 95% of the movie is the stuff that downers are made of. Not only is it depressing, but you start to dislike McAdams’ character when she turns into her A-hole dad.

‘The Vow’ feels like two movies improperly blended into one. There’s the sappy but excusable story of Tatum trying to win his wife over again, and there’s the overly predictable and melodramatic family story that feels like it’s straight out of a soap opera. Personally, I’d prefer the ‘Serendipity‘-esque cutesy love story over the Lifetime Network drama, hands down.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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