Saturday, February 25, 2012

Michael Sucsy: The Vow

Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams, The Vow, Screen Gems, 2012.

Tearjerkers can be dangerous ground; done well they can be old-fashioned, moving and cathartic. Done wrong they can be condescending, idiotic and unbearable. Its all in the slant of the material. Nicholas Sparks has made a mint off of the latter, only redeemed when a good director tackles his source. The Vow might have been written by him; treacly manipulations. Both of its leads have starred seperately in filmizations of his massively consumed work. Yet this one falls somewhere in between the two categories.

Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) and Channing Tatum (Dear John) are the young lovers tested by fate. After a car crash causes her to lose her memory, he must make her fall in love with him again. Jessica Lange and Sam Neill linger in the background as her gargoylesque parents.

Abby Kohn's script is so cliche ridden and simplistic, it truly is bad. And yet, first time director Michael Sucsy salvages the human element in the heap, and that warmth is what saves the picture. In spite of their mouths full of wretched dialogue, McAdams and Tatum are good together. There's no denying their screen chemistry. McAdams is especially excellent in making us believe in her character. Sucsy is aided immeasurably by Roger Stoffers' crisp camera work and Rachel Portman's lilting love theme.

The medium found between true love and bad cinema make The Vow a sheer guilty pleasure.

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