Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Vow Review

Kim and Krickett Carpenter
The story of Kim and Krickett Carpenter is quite an inspiring one. They fell in love and got married on September 18th, 1993. Ten weeks later they got in a serious car accident that left Krickett with serious brain trauma that pretty much wiped out the past 18 months of her life in terms of her memory. That time included her forgetting the whole time span of her meeting, dating, and getting married to her husband Kim. He, however, was still madly in love with her and stayed with her during the months she was in a coma and the months of physical therapy that followed. Despite all the effort, she never regained her memory. This obviously frustrated him a bit and there were times when he thought the marriage wouldn't work out, but at the same time he refused to leave her in the state that she was and things ended up working out. Despite her never remembering the previous relationship with him, she fell in love with him again and in 1996 they renewed their vows and had a second marriage. Both state that what kept them together during this time period was their faith in Jesus Chist (they are devout Christians and attend a Methodist church in Farmington, NM) and their vows they made to each other and to God. They wrote a book about their story called The Vow that was published in 2000. Perfect material for a romantic chick flick, right? Some movie makers certainly thought so and turned this story into a movie that came out just this past February. New on DVD just recently, my brother and his wife rented it and I watched it with them. Awful. Just plain awful. Despite it being a bit dated, I have a few things that I want to say, so here on my blog is the perfect place.

Now first off, how do I know the Carpenter's story so well? That answer is easy. When I watch a movie that starts out by saying "Based on a true story" (or in this case I think the wording was "Inspired by true events") I get curious as to what the actual story is and so I jumped on my laptop once the movie started and looked it up as I watched. What I quickly learned was that when this movie says "inspired by true events" what they really mean is "the events that happened to this certain couple inspired us and we decided to make a movie that had the same basic premise, but our movie and the real story have very little in common." Which that isn't a terrible thing. I don't have a problem with you making a story that is only loosely based on true events allowing you to use your own creative liberties instead of just doing a documentary. But when you do that your created story better be a good one because if not I am going to criticize you for taking an awesome and making it pathetic. This movie is not about Kim and Krickett Carpenter. It's about a fictional couple named Leo and Paige. In both situations, the couple got in a car crash and the girl lost the memory of her husband. Outside that, the two stories are dramatically different. Kim and Krickett's story is awesome. Paige and Leo's isn't.

Now that I've rambled on about that for two paragraphs, lets jump into the movie. Yes, I am a guy that is reviewing a chick flick so I know that if you are a girl and are reading this, that fact alone will cause you to not trust my opinion, but hear me out please. I don't hate chick flicks. In fact I have enjoyed many of them, but there are a few things I always look for when I watch a chick flick. One, I want it to be done well. Meaning the story is intelligent and believable and the couple in the chick flick have great chemistry. The second is that I like a chick flick to throw me off a bit. We all know that the story line of a chick flick. Guy meets girl. Guy and girl fall in love. Some event happens that causes drama in the relationship and guy and girl almost break up permanently. A second event or series of events happens that brings the couple back together. There. Boom. That's the basic story line of all chick flicks. For me to enjoy a chick flick, something has to happen to cause the chick flick to be slightly unpredictable. Most girls don't care about that second aspect, they just want it to be sweet and romantic. I gotta have both. The problem with the vow is not only did it not have the second point done right, I don't even think it got the first one done right.

So yeah, the unpredictability in this movie doesn't exist. There are no curve balls at all in the story line. If you have seen the trailer, you have seen the whole movie. Ok, that's not the end of the world. It means I won't enjoy it that much, but many people still can. The huge problem is that other aspect I mentioned. Lets start at the very beginning. The crash. Unrealistic. With the way the truck hits the car in the beginning, having all the windows crack or shatter with the girl flying halfway out on the hood of the car just wouldn't happen. And why in the heck would a girl feel the need to take off her seatbelt while they were sitting there at the stoplight to lean over and make out with husband? That doesn't make sense to me. Then we move on to the story. In was a bit forced and a little weird. The girl in this loses 5 years of her memory. And apparently with this story, she forgets her whole personality. 5 years ago in the story she was a righteous good girl and then in those five years she goes rebellious. Well when she loses her memory, she forgets that whole rebellious stage and thus becomes a good girl again. Then of course we have to throw in an aspect that one of the last things she remembers is a previous engagement and so she thus falls in love with that guy again. On top of that, I didn't find any chemistry between Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. A part of that was the script they were given, but another part was that the acting wasn't very good or believable at all. The whole time Channing Tatum, or his character Leo I suppose, is a complete jerk and idiot. And certainly not romantic at all. I'm not a girl so maybe I don't know, but I really don't think he did anything that would've won her over. I expected it to be sweet and romantic like 50 first dates where when he learns that she has a memory loss issue, he is smooth and romantic by taking her on dates and treating like a new situation. Nope. That didn't happen. Instead we get dissonance, arguments, and separation the whole movie and some how by some miracle Paige finds Leo and decides to stay with him. It didn't make sense. I won't go into detail about how it ends, but it is ridiculous and completely forced. And of course because the movie makers think they are smart, they have to include a few scenes where we see full body shots of Rachel McAdams in nothing but her underwear and for the girls we see Channing Tatum completely nude from the behind. Dumb.

So now my rant is over. This movie was just not done very well. Even my sister-in-law was disappointed with it. Kim Carpenter himself said this, "We enjoyed the movie but we were a little frustrated by the artistic licence they took." Another interview mentions that they were also disappointed that the religious aspect was taken out. So if the people you base your chick flick off of weren't even all that impressed with your movie, you know you have problems. I am giving this movie a 4 out of 10. I'm being that generous because it inspired me to learn about the amazing story of Kim and Krickett Carpenter, but that's about it.

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