Rachel Mcadams and Channing Tatum are easily two of the ‘hottest properties’ currently working in Hollywood. Tatum, whose chiseled, gargoyle-esque looks have carried him through a filmography tailored to his talentless, emotionally vacant persona as he’s hopped from tacky dance flicks to dreary schmaltz without so much as a fleck of conviction. Mcadams, on the other hand, is the bearer of a career constantly on the up, starring in films that benefit from having her in the cast (State of Play) as well as ones where her presence heightens the somewhat bland elements she is surrounded by (The Family Stone). I’d even make a point of forgiving her for starring in The Hot Chick, Rob Schneider’s unfortunate body-swap atrocity. She was also pretty great in Mean Girls (yes, I went there).
It’s a shame then that the two have been pitted together for the upcoming romantic drama The Vow, which sees them play a newlywed couple torn apart by a car crash. While he makes it out unscathed (dangit), she winds up in a coma that renders her memory wiped upon her eventual reawakening. Without a clue who she is and, more importantly, who her husband is, Tatum goes about trying to win back her love, one saccharine day at a time.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this was another one of those god awful adaptations of Nicholas Sparks’ soppy novels, but thankfully this isn’t the case, even if, judging by the trailer, it looks just about as cheesy as two existing Sparks adaps; Dear John and The Notebook, which starred Tatum and Mcadams respectively. However, you’d also be forgiven for coming to the realisation that you may have seen this all before elsewhere. Okay, so films that borrow plot strands from other films isn’t exactly unheard of, yet the The Vow‘s narrative is a little more than a variation of the 2004 romantic comedy 50 First Dates, a popular jaunt in which Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore tried and failed to reignite the spark they shared in the far superior The Wedding Singer. The macguffin there was that Barrymore suffered from short-term memory loss which forced Sandler, bafflingly, to try and make her his girlfriend each and every day with the help of a gaggle of friends and family.
Even the two films’ IMDB synopses make no bones about hiding their similarities:
That The Vow features an almost identical plot, apparently without the gross-out gags and trial and error slapstick, is shameful. A retooled rehash that merely dresses up an already established idea, which can again be found in films such as the Madonna starring Desperately Seeking Susan, where a mistake of identity is brought on by a blow to the bonce. Moreover, any similarities with the flawless Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind should be packed away in a box marked ‘coincidence’.
Now, I am not making any sort of a case for 50 First Dates, it’s a near terrible movie that has an unfortunate amount of devotees, but if you had made any plans on seeing The Vow, then you needn’t bother, just seek out the former film on DVD. On second thoughts, don’t do that either. It’ll taint your long-term memory.