The Vow

There are worse sins for a mainstream film to commit than predictability — the line between “predictable” and “comfortable” can be thin, and an old story can take on new life if executed with some verve — but in The Vow, it really stings. An easygoing, airport-novel weepie, the film starts with a halfway-interesting premise: after a car accident, a free-spirited, city-dwelling sculptor named Paige (Rachel McAdams) loses all memory of her life with her recording-engineer husband (Channing Tatum) and mentally reverts back to a time when she was a suburban, conservative law student about to marry a career-bound classmate (Scott Speedman). The focus is on Tatum’s genially heartbroken Leo, who has to fight for his old life with Paige though she has no idea who the hell he is. His frustration is an engaging emotional hook — what if someone you’ve known and loved for years suddenly became the person she was before she met you? But since we know exactly where The Vow has to end up, it becomes an inexorable progression from the intriguing to the tedious. Once the film exhausts its feeble attempts to mine dramatic juice out of Leo’s plight, it just lies down and dies: the last forty-five minutes are a mind-numbing vacuum, as the various plot contrivances (the uptight parents, the former fiancee) resolve in the way you’d expect, and the movie finds a perfectly anodyne path to its inevitable happy ending.

 

-- Eugene Novikov

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Screening Log

Snitch

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Score: C

Side Effects

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Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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