'The Vow': What the Critics Are Saying

8:54 PM PST 02/10/2012 by THR Staff
Screen Gems
"The Vow"

Reviews have been mixed for the Channing Tatum-Rachel McAdams romantic drama, in theaters this weekend.

Opening this weekend is romantic tearjerker The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams -- and it appears critics aren't fully invested.

Inspired by the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, The Vow centers on a married couple, Paige (McAdams) and Leo (Tatum), who face a big test when Paige wakes up after a car accident with memory loss.

Directed by Michael Sucsy, The Vow co-stars Sam Neill, Scott Speedman and Jessica Lange.

As of Friday evening, Rotten Tomatoes had the movie at 28 percent based on critics' reviews, but moviegoers rated it an 82 percent.

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The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy concluded that the Tatum-McAdams romantic comedy, based on a true story, would strike a chord for those "who lapped up the prefab boy-girl inanities of He's Just Not That Into You, Valentine's Day and Never Been Kissed."

The Screen Gems film, released in time for the Valentine's Day crowd, McCarthy noted that The Vow helmer Sucsy "directs with computerlike precision; every composition and cut is made with its calculated effect readily evident," but pointed out the numerous "music cues for the pale pop songs, on each of which you can feel the button being pushed for the desired emotional effect."

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The New York Times' A.O. Scott wrote that The Vow is a "mild, soggy romance" that didn't take full advantage of the original synopsis, saying that "a cautious desire to remain somewhere in the neighborhood of plausibility also robs the movie." He later says that the romantic drama "is designed for comfort, not shock," stating that The Vow "could have been a rich, strange melodrama; a psychological thriller; a horror movie; a dark comedy; or any combination of these."

In her review, The Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey said The Vow "leaves you wanting more. To care more, to cry more, to love more." She pointed out the "lopsided script that keeps the synapse-crossed lovers too unbalanced too much of the time," pointing out the four credited screenwriters that include Sucsy, Jason Katims, Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert kept in line with other critics' conclusions that the film doesn't fully live up to its potential, writing that the "same story could be a fraught melodrama with pumped-up characters and dire consequences." Unfortunately for the audience, that's not what they get onscreen, calling it "more of a sweet date movie for Valentine's Day."

Giving The Vow two stars out of four, USA Today' film critic Claudia Puig sums up the film in a nutshell with the headline: "You'll swear you've seen this before, tells it all." Explaining further, Puig says, "It may appeal to the most rabid fans of tearjerk romances like The Notebook, but it's a hard-to-swallow, maudlin tale."

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