The Vow

February 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams, Scott Speedman
Written by: Michael Sucsy (debut), Marc Silverstein (“He’s Just Not That Into You”), Abby Kohn (“He’s Just Not That Into You”), Jason Katims (“The Pallbearer”)
Directed by: Michael Sucsy (debut)

If you’re in a serious, long-term relationship, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve discussed with your significant other if they would stand by you through anything that happened. You’ve probably cooked up the most absurd scenarios ever, promising to stay with them even if they encountered an event ranging from a minor cosmetic abnormality through full-on incontinence. “The Vow” takes a shot at one of those tests of true love, but fails to fulfill its promise of being a satisfying date-night movie.

Inspired by true events, “The Vow” opens with a car accident that causes Paige (Rachel McAdams) to lose the previous five years of her life, erasing her husband Leo (Channing Tatum) from her memory completely. When Paige’s estranged parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange) come back into the picture, Leo is left to try to convince Paige of their previous feelings for each other and make her fall in love with him again, while trying to keep her last known boyfriend Jeremy (Scott Speedman) at bay.

If you took the over in the “Channing Tatum shirtless” office pool, you’ll come out a winner. Tatum is good enough in the role of Leo. He’s convincing in showing that he truly cares for Paige, but like with most of his performances he leaves something to be desired on the acting front. McAdams proves herself to be pretty charming in her short-lived pre-accident moments. But once the accident happens, she reverts back to her old self which makes sense in theory, but robs her of the personality she establishes early on. One of the biggest issues facing “The Vow” is the seemingly lazy effort put into creating any interesting secondary characters. The random vindictive intentions of ex-fiance Jeremy are forced and misplaced given his outward behavior. In fact, the forcedness of all of the characters who are foils to the romance make the already weak characters that much more stale.

While the plot of the film might seem similar to 2004’s “50 First Dates”, it is a little different in that Tatum’s character doesn’t have to reintroduce himself to his love on a daily basis. But perhaps that’s why “The Vow” fails to strike a chord. Though Leo goes through the big spectacles and far-fetched ideas to reignite their love, his sense of frustration kicks in and the passion isn’t felt as strong as something like “50 First Dates” where Adam Sandler’s character refuses to give up. After the accident, Paige has changed, and no longer has chemistry with Leo. Unfortunately for “The Vow,” watching someone try to force a relationship on someone else does not make for a good romance.

Coming out just in time for Valentine’s Day, “The Vow” knows its exact target audience. Although it occasionally comes off as sincere, the story is too schmaltzy, the humor is too flat and the characters are too flimsy to stand on their own.

He’s Just Not That Into You

February 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Justin Long, Jennifer Aniston
Directed by: Ken Kwapis (“License to Wed”)
Written by: Abbie Kohn (“Never Been Kissed”) and Marc Silverstein (“Never Been Kissed”)

Just when you thought women couldn’t be portrayed more desperate and neurotic than Sarah Jessica Parker at the end of “Sex and the City: The Movie” (if you think Carrie Bradshaw taking back Mr. Big was romantic, then I really don’t understand the opposite sex), meet the ladies of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

While Bradshaw showed at least some signs of independence in “SATC” (she is a single woman living in New York City after all), the unapologetically weak women of “HJNTIY,” led by the likeable Ginnifer Goodwin (“Walk the Line”), are so unbelievably hopeless, you can’t help to not feel one ounce of sympathy for any of them who might end up alone for the rest of their lives.

The relationship troubles in this cliché romantic comedy start with Gigi (Goodwin), a twenty-something young woman from Baltimore who is searching for Mr. Right and always coming up short. Along with running into relationship dead-ends, Gigi, like Charlotte York from “SATC,” is a hopeless romantic and doesn’t quite grasp the idea of a man blowing her off after an amicable date.

There to soften the fall after her last taste of rejection is Alex (Justin Long), a bar manager who plays the all-knowing love guru and attempts to explain the rules of dating to a wide-eyed and heartbroken Gigi. She, of course, isn’t the only one with relationship woes in “HJNTIY.” Spread thinly across a forgettable script penned by “Never Been Kissed” screenwriters Abbie Kohn and March Silverstein, other characters include Beth (Jennifer Aniston), whose long-time boyfriend Neil (Ben Affleck) doesn’t believe in marriage; Ben (Bradley Cooper), who’s in a sexless marriage with Janine (Jennifer Connelly) and gets involved with aspiring singer Anna (Scarlett Johansson); and Mary (Drew Barrymore) who complains about how technology is ruining her love life.

Between these stories, director Ken Kwapis (“License to Wed”) decides to add filler with mock testimonials from men and women about their personal experiences in the dating scene. While it worked in a film like “When Harry Met Sally,” in “HJNTIY” it’s phony and unimaginative.

“HJNTIY” feels like a therapy session with friends you haven’t talked to in a long time. They mean well when they give you advice, but what do they know about what you’ve been going through in the last few years? Who needs advice anyway, when you’ve got Justin Long teaching the dos and don’ts of dating anyway? Lesson No. 1: girls are clingy, psychotic, mentally unbalanced morons whose happiness is determined by the men they are dating. It may not be a great morale for those who chose to soak it up like scripture, but, hey, at least its got a cute cast, right?