When previews for The Vow first graced movie theaters and computer screens, women and gay men across America grabbed the closest box of tissues and headed for Fandango. A few months later, the movie has finally opened, and theaters were packed with the usual sob story fans (and their miserable boyfriends).
I've been waiting a long time for this movie - Rachel McAdams has been in my heart since Mean Girls (well, really since The Hot Chick, but even more since Mean Girls), Channing Tatum finds a reason to take his clothes off in every movie he's in, and while this isn't a Nicholas Sparks film, it is the closest/saddest movie out right now.
The movie tells the story of Paige and Leo, a happy couple who have lived flawlessly together for the last five years. After a horrible (and visually graphic) car accident, Paige is left in a coma; when she wakes, she doesn't remember anything about the last five years. Her last memory involves being engaged to some ass hat named Jeremy and living with her parents (that she hasn't spoken to for the last five years.) Clearly, her family and ex-fiance use this to her advantage while Leo fights to help her regain her memory...and her love.
As the movie goes on, it becomes quite clear that this isn't a Nicholas Sparks movie. For one, it's not set in North Carolina. But even more so, 90% of all sad movies are sob-inducing because of the shock factor: you don't see a death coming, so when it does, you break down. Or perhaps you do see it coming (Red Tails), but when it actually happens, you can't stop yourself from becoming a mess. But with The Vow, nothing shocking happens, leaving all sadness to be translated through phenomenal acting. And let's face it, with Channing Tatum as the leading male, we just don't get that.
Not to say that the movie is bad... it's not. McAdams does a fantastic job making audiences feel for her as she tries to make everyone around her happy as she tries to force herself to remember her past. The few parts that did make me slightly tear up were due to her wonderful acting abilities. However, it can also be said that the young actress has cursed herself by starring in one of the most romantic/overrated movies of all time, The Notebook. This woman can not be in a movie that will make women cry as much as that movie did, so the fact that she still works in this genre just sets audiences up for major disappointment.
The Notebook and Tatum's poor acting aside, The Vow is a gripping story if you know what you're getting yourself into. On second viewing, you can really take a lot more out of the movie, but if you're headed to theater with a year supply of tissues and your favorite girls and gays expecting to cuddle up and sob into each other's chests... don't. Because you're not going to. You're better off renting The Notebook.