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The Vow (2012) [second opinion]

May 25, 2012

MY CALL:  Just see this if you like romantic dramas.  Don’t tell me you don’t like Channing Tatum.  Just impress your girlfriend and pick it out yourself.  As long as you’re past your first few weeks with her, I think you’ll thank me.  IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:  If you enjoy Tatum here, move right on to Dear John (2010).  Anyone looking for a more mature version of this with a more involved plot and heavier drama, then go for Regarding Henry (1991).

Paige (Rachel McAdams; Mean Girls, The Notebook, Morning Glory) and Leo (Channing Tatum; Dear John, 21 Jump Street) are an adorable, young married couple whose car is violently hit by a truck rendering Paige with no memory of the last five years, which happen to include marrying, loving, and even ever meeting Leo.

Their first date.  Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Hospital scenes after the accident alternate with flashbacks which show us how picture perfect their life together has been.  These scenes will roll men’s eyes and swoon women’s hearts.  It’s straight out of the Cosmo article: “How you know you’ve met Mr. Right.”  Paige and Leo exchange a kind glance, she accidently leaves something behind which he returns as he catches up to her, and he suggests that they owe it to the universe to have a drink together because of some cute coincidence—barf, right guys?  Of course it’s wine at a quaint corner café (Café Mnemonic, for the sake of irony) where he surprises her with hand-fed chocolates.  Then we cut to Paige waiting tables with the sniffles and she finds a gift waiting for her at a vacant table and Leo watching from outside, soaking in the rain with a mild-mannered smile.  The contents?  Tissues for her nose, Advil for her head, a photo of him for her heart, and a negligee for later.  He’s every bit as spontaneous and thoughtful as any women’s magazine could imagine.

Every girl’s dream.  A soaking wet Channing Tatum.  Let’s get you out of those clothes.

After the accident:  Now awake and confused, Paige’s parents (whom she hadn’t spoken to in years due to a serious disagreement about how Paige should run her own life as an adult) compete with Leo for her affection, trust and rehabilitation.  She doesn’t recall their bad terms.  But Leo unwaiveringly fights for her and she chooses him.  As they re-begin living together, there are a lot of cute/funny firsts:  seeing Leo naked by accident, explanations of their daily routines, the awkwardness of when you feel comfortable going in for a goodbye kiss in the morning—even though it used to be second nature.

The one woman in the world who doesn’t want to see Tatum nude.

But in a panic, familiarity trumps presumed love and Paige’s affluent parents re-enter the competition by introducing all of the seductive, high society pageantry that Paige remembers so well (forgetting that she chose to turn her back on it).  Leo had difficulty when it was only the two of them, but now he had to complete with all of the things she did remember, including a debutante lifestyle and even her ex-fiancé with whom, by her memory, she never broke it off!  Other challenges include Leo trying one of their personal adorablisms to jog her memory and it only startles her, yielding the opposite effect.  And when Leo shows Paige (an artist) to her studio she feels alienated as she looks upon someone else’s space.

Paige tries to put the pieces together and find her last memory before the accident–while looking all cute collaging on top of the table in her pajama pants.

The ride is bumpy and frustrating, but cuddlingly warm and fuzzy by the end.

Sam Neil (The Event Horizon) and Jessica Lange (FX’s American Horror Story) do a great job as Paige’s overly controlling but good-intentioned parents.  Scott Speedman (Underworld, The Strangers) plays her re-smitten ex-fiancé.  And Tatum is convincing as a man who desperately, if not fearfully, needs to get his wife to fall in love with him again while she wears a mask of her past that she had abandoned before meeting him.  Actually, let’s just say that all of the cast, regardless of how their characters may initially appear, get a serious chance to be open and vulnerable—and they all left me feeling the same way.

Give Tatum a shot on this one—even you simply think he’s some good-looking punk from Tampa.  Among the muscled action-friendly actors, Ryan Reynolds has championed the RomCom.  Just Friends (2005), Definitely Maybe (2008) and The Proposal (2009) all rely on his expressive face, dashing ego, and quippy contributions to the script.  But Channing Tatum has mastered the sincere romance story.  I loved Dear John (2010), The Vow won me over right away, and I can’t wait for Magic Mike (2012).  His charm comes from a more quiet personality and his characters love more than want.

I loved this movie.  But if you aren’t sure about this movie, know that opinions are quite mixed.  The Hof had a different take on this movie.  Click here to read it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2012 1:17 am

    The parents are the worst villians of recent film history. I feel like this movie has two likable leads and everything surrounding them sucks, I wish it could have been a movie about the TWO of them falling back in love. Watch Serendipity instead,,,,It has nothing to do with the movie but it won’t make you yell at the TV screen.

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    May 27, 2012 10:20 am

    Hoffy still doesn’t trust Jessica Lange or Sam Neil after their homocidal and infernal roles, respectively, from Hush, American Horror Story and The Event Horizon.


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