You can imagine the pitch. “Here’s an idea for a chick flick. Take a true story about love and amnesia, starring her from The Notebook. We clearly won’t get Ryan Gosling anymore, so how about that hunky bloke from Dear John instead?” Well, it worked. The film’s out and has become a rather sizeable hit in the process. Needless to say, critics aren’t getting it. And, whilst it’s no The Notebook, fortunately it’s no Dear John either.
Despite being happily single, I am a bloke who’s rather find of chick flicks. Romcoms, romantic ensembles, melodramas… When they’re done right, they can transport you away on an emotional journey, and when they’re done wrong they can be alienating and sickening. The Vow falls somewhere between the two. It’s not overly saccharine, but it didn’t get me welling up, either.
The fact that it’s based on a true story helps, adding a gravitas the film might not otherwise deserve. Amnesia is a Hollywood plot staple, so at least they have a legitimate excuse for its use here.
Both leads’ perspectives are played evenly, and both Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams give their all. McAdams is frequently good, and here she gives her most convincing performance in a few years, but Tatum in particular manages to squeeze a bit of charm and believability through, rather than his usual impression of a wooden lunk.
The two leads have each so far eluded the household name status they’ve been chasing for the last decade. As decent as they are here, this film is unlikely to change matters.