Dave White
The Vow Review

Dave's Rating:

3.5

Hey ladies...

I have a male friend who said, when I told him that yes, in fact, my job involves seeing all the movies that get a wide release, including The Vow, and not just ones I have a personal interest in watching, "I would rather kill myself."

I also have a 16-year-old niece who is so excited to see The Vow that I think she might turn into a pillar of cheerleader-shaped cotton candy when she lays eyes on it.

Both of these people are 100% correct about The Vow.

I can't speak for the kind of women who will line up for this film with their own travel-size packets of Kleenex in tow (or for a very specific type of gay man, or for Damon Wayans Jr.'s romance-movie-loving straight-guy character on the sitcom Happy Endings, for that matter), but I can only assume that this film will give all of the them the same feeling I would get if I was told that I could eat fried chicken and waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner while getting a private concert performed by the original lineup of Celtic Frost and [insert your own favorite selfish and dirty sex act here]. As fellow critic Grae Drake told me after the closing credits, "I'm swimming in a pool of my own estrogen right now." Apparently this is a thing that is extremely satisfying.

The plot involves amnesia. How awesome is that? Amnesia. Rachel McAdams -- who is pretty much The Queen of This thanks to The Notebook -- wakes up from a car accident coma and realizes she's forgotten the fact that she's married to soulful lunkhead Channing Tatum, has a kickass boho loft apartment in the city, is a successful artist, and owns $3,500 Eero Saarinen chairs from Design Within Reach. And she's bummed out by this. That's because amnesia not only makes you forget everything, it also makes you think great things right in front of your face are terrible.

Channing Tatum, for his part, isn't about to let his foxy bride go back to her uptight sorority girl former life -- the one where she's willing to undergo weird frosted hair highlights, date corporate drone Scott Speedman, attend law school and happily eat at Macaroni Grill -- and he sets out to earn her back, step by step. The guy is like a loyal, wet-eyed dog that keeps bringing you your favorite pair of cozy slippers. Will he succeed? Will she learn to love him again? Do the Harlem Globetrotters always come back from behind in the fourth quarter?

So the point isn't if this is a good movie or not. It's astoundingly good at being the type of movie it wants to be. It's not idiotic, it makes narrative and emotional sense, and everyone is attractive. The actors go for it, there's no bet-hedging, it will break your arm if it has to, anything to make you cry. It will be rightly avoided by people who already know they can't stand stuff like this. And it will feel like a spa treatment to everyone else, the kind where they pour warm milk on you. I heard that's also a thing.

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