The Vow, Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum - Review

07/02/2012 15:12 GMT | Updated 08/04/2012 10:12 BST

Just in time for Valentine's Day, The Vow is another film in this season of love to make us girls long for an epic romance of our own. Ok, maybe not so much the dramatic circumstances. But, the idea of a husband trying to win his wife's love back after losing her memory in a car accident, including the last five years of her life, is enough to make that dinner date at Nando's seem a bit tepid.

With the leading characters Paige and Leo played by Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum - graduates of the Nicholas Sparks School of Love - you'd be forgiven for thinking the writer of The Notebook and Dear John was behind this fraught romance.

Especially as the first act follows the Chicago based couple's adorable love story from their first meeting in a car park to their unauthorised wedding in an art gallery, reading their vows off the café menu from their first date.

It's in these early scenes that the chemistry between McAdams and Tatum is palpable, with more than a few sighs and smiles in audience. But this film is based on a true story, which begs the question, what would you do in this situation?

For Leo it meant battling with his wife's estranged family and ex-fiancé to try and get Paige to remember the love they once shared. In her mind, she's not a married artist but living at home with her parents (the ashamedly underused Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), studying at law school and engaged to Jeremy (Scott Speedman).

"She doesn't want to remember their love at one point, which was tricky." McAdams tells the Chicago Sun-Times.

"You still had to make the film sympathetic. You want the audience to root for this couple. You want them to get back together, but we had to finesse it and see how far we could get away from their love and still leave a shred of hope."

So from being an Obama-loving vegan, Paige regresses back to her former Waspish republican self, where we are confronted with the lingering question as to why she hasn't spoke to her family for five years.

The answer stands out as a weak point in the film, providing an underwhelming revelation, that isn't really a believable reason for why Paige would forsake all the members of her family.

I can only compare the disappointment of this narrative point with the Ides of March. There I was expecting a Manchurian Candidate-like catalyst in the story, only to be given the limp clichéd tale of a politician being naughty with an intern. Rather feeble don't you think?

The romantic in me can overlook this flaw, because if there is one thing I can watch it's Channing Tatum getting all emo. That man is just too much to take when he has tears in his eyes... especially as I love a good cry (don't let me watch the Google Chrome Ad ).

So of course, Tatum's moments after the accident, at home with Paige, at her sister's wedding and playing his guitar at the recording studio (whimper) all had me welling up... but as the story came to a close the romantic climax fell rather flat. But maybe my expectations were too high, waiting for a more fantastical ending then the reality of the story the film was based upon.

For a Valentine's Day movie, it has all the dramatic elements of a love story you'd expect, and Tatum and McAdams' on-screen chemistry is hard not to like, but with a 2nd act not half as strong as the first, The Vow may not warm your heart as much as you might hope.

Verdict: 3/5

In cinemas this Friday.

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