Movie Reviews

[REVIEW] A Brief Nerd’s Guide to Surviving “The Vow.”


Okay, so it’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day and the previous weekend you unwisely played your “my turn to pick the movie” card on your significant other so you could get to see the testosterone-laden beast of a man-film that is The Grey. You get to the theater Friday night with your partner and decide to check out what’s new this weekend… uh-oh… you don’t get to pick this one… and your partner is feeling romantic… you try desperately to remember the trailer but don’t think The Vow has ninjas… yep you’re in trouble…

Have no fear, dear nerd readers – I’m here to help. Much like the immortal Bryan Adams: Everything I do, I do it for you. You see, I sat through this film for you, my friends, and behold – it is not good. Muy mal. No es bueno. And this is coming from a heterosexual male that is VERY forgiving of the romance genre. So if you find yourself faced with The Vow this Valentine’s weekend, make sure to remember these tips I’ve decided to compile – they just might save your sanity while sitting through this awkward mess of a love story. Here’s how to get through it:

Pretend this is a prequel to Channing Tatum’s other (much better) recent release “Haywire.”

"Gun go boom?" Yes, Channing. Gun go boom. "SQUIRREL!!"

Paige (Rachel McAdams) loses her memory in The Vow after a horrible car accident and is left with some mild scarring and some accompanying head trauma – seems like a perfectly plausible setup for her becoming unhinged enough to change her name and pursue becoming a trained killer. Pack on a few pounds of muscle and boom! Rachel McAdams could easily be a younger version of Gina Carano’s badass character in Haywire! Both share the affinity for being a bitch and sleeping with the brooding clod Channing Tatum. It could happen…

Pretend Rachel McAdams’ horribly mean character is actually taking out her frustrations on Channing Tatum for the travesty to nerd-kind: “GI Joe: Rise of Cobra.

"I'll swallow your soul, for realz. Lolz!"

After Paige loses her memory in The Vow, not even the always-adorable McAdams can make this succubus come across as anything but selfish, cold and mean. Leo (Channing Tatum) is increasingly sweet and patient with her, and she thanks him by ditching him and hanging out with her high school friends and ex-fiancee, both of which she hasn’t seen in over five years because she hated and left that life. Sounds heartless, right? That’s because it absolutely is.

Even though Tatum is mostly his usual wooden and emotionless self, you feel kinda bad for him. But wait… Tatum was Duke in G.I. Joe. Think about that for a second people. G.I. freakin’ Joe. Yeeees, let the hate flow through you! He had it coming. Make him pay! Break his heart a million times over and it still won’t be enough for what he’s done to our beloved cartoon turned big-budget crap film…*grumble* nobody likes the Wayans brothers…*grumble* stupid power suits wtf?…*grumble* where’s Sergeant Slaughter? *sad face*….

Sneak in a flask and play “The Vow” drinking game!

"Its last call bro! You take the one that looks like Rachel McAdams!"

Here are a couple of suggestions on some drinking rules:

  1. Take a drink every time the great Sam Neill appears onscreen as Paige’s uptight father. He may have phoned it in for this movie but he’s Dr. Grant for God’s sake. Show some respect, dammit.
  2. Take a drink every time Channing Tatum is wearing something ridiculous. He’s supposed to be a “hipster” in this film. But he ends up just looking silly and out of place around his friends in the goofy outfits he wears periodically to look the part. He’s like a giant potato in a sweater-vest.
  3. *This one is only for those who can hold their liquor* Better call a cab if you choose this one…Take a drink every time Rachel McAdams does something rude or selfish. “I woke up from a coma and have a loving husband and friends and make art for a living and live in a sweet pad that has an art studio attached to it in downtown Chicago. Why God whyyyy *sob*???”

Finally the number one tip in this nerd guide to surviving The Vow:

Just don’t go see “The Vow” !!!!

...and then ironically get married and have tons of ironic babies!

Most likely, you and your significant other will not have any fun with it. The film never really gets its rhythm after stumbling from the gates with the messy narrative used in the early flashback scenes. Tatum is slightly better than normal (not saying much, I know) but McAdams, who is typically endearing, is crippled by the writing of her completely unlikeable character. The supporting cast is visibly bored and underused. For a film that wants to be romantic, scenes which actually come across as sweet are unforgiveably few and far between.

The majority of the film is dominated by watching the couple put into awkward social and romantic situations that are, for the most part, intentionally humorless. Wha-huh?! Why would you do that to your audience? So if you’re looking for an entertaining romance this Valentine’s weekend (personally, I’d go with anything from John Cusack’s catalog) you’re better off revisiting any of McAdams’ previous films to set the mood, because The Vow badly misses the romantic mark.


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