‘The Vow’ not worth the hype

By Charlene Swain

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There is nothing quite like the butterflies that fill your stomach with the glance of a simple smile from a lover’s face or the heavenly lightweight feeling that comes with a first kiss.

The experience of falling in love is incomparably blissful. Ever wish you could do it all over again once you are caught up within a longtime relationship? Director Michael Sucsy’s “The Vow” explores this exact situation.

The film begins as the popular recording studio owner Leo Collins (Channing Tatum) and his sculptor wife Paige (Rachel McAdams) leave a movie theater in Chicago on the perfect winter night. As the couple sits in the car at a stop sign, the fresh fallen snow proves to be a problem for a truck behind them. As expected, the couple goes in for a kiss as the plow smashes into the back of their beat-up car, ejecting Paige from her seat and through the windshield.

“The Vow” showcases Leo’s strength and determination as he tries to regain his wife’s love and affection when she loses all recollection of him after waking up from her medically induced coma. His efforts leave Paige feeling cold and she moves out of their artsy one-bedroom and back into her now estranged parents’ home on Lake Michigan.

Unlike the promo suggests, you barely see Leo and Paige happy together. Instead, their romance is played out through flashbacks as the heart of the movie focuses in on Leo’s struggle to get his wife back.

Sorry to disappoint all the romance cravers who have such high expectations for this film, however “The Vow” is in no way a feel good movie. This romantic drama plays out the tale of love, but focuses more on lost hope and frustration.

McAdams and Tatum are two very well known romantic actors, building the anticipation for this film’s release. Their chemistry was mediocre, nowhere near the lovebirds of Noah and Allie from McAdams’ most notable role in “The Notebook.” In fact, the couple’s battle for love on screen was mostly awkward, which made it uncomfortable to watch.

Tatum’s role of a loving husband – desperate to have his wife regain memory or fall in love with him again – is commendable as it was surprisingly more convincing than his role in “Dear John.” His determined efforts of love throughout the movie are what every girl wishes their guy would do.

The pacing of this movie was much like stop-and-go traffic during rush hour. The begging had you going, anticipating the best for the couple and then it just flopped. The middle of the movie was dry, slow and extremely frustrating. It wasn’t until maybe the last five minutes of the movie that it finally picked up again.

“The Vow” is based on a true story and the ending may leave you feeling disappointed, as it does not answer many questions. The director added in a note to the end of the movie that only allows you to assume what happens between Leo and Paige. Audience members will likely be left desiring more.

The cinematography was well done, and had an artsy flare – showcasing Chicago and its native art institute. The setting of the film allowed the romantic atmosphere to shine through.

The soundtrack of “The Vow” – featuring many small-name alternative rock bands – was overall upbeat and provided a contrasting happy tone to the movie. Surprisingly the song “Enchanted” by Taylor Swift – a tune that explores the notion of meeting someone for the first time – is not used once within the movie.

The expectation of this movie was big, although it may leave viewers feeling dissatisfied with the lack of love felt on the screen. It was a valiant effort from the two mainstream romantic actors, but it did fall short as a romance movie.

“The Vow” led the box office in its opening weekend, taking in $41.7 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. On Valentine’s Day alone, the movie made an impressive $11.6 million, according to the LA Times.

Charlene Swain can be reached at [email protected]