Tearful, with neither acting nor wit to redeem its several unexpectedly awful moments
There is a basic structure to chick flick storylines that one expects to play out in the same way for every rom-com. Sometimes, however, the trope of two people falling in love, experiencing a relationship disaster, and arriving at a happy ending is not followed.
The Vow is one of the aforementioned deviant movies that do not show you the story you were expecting. Yes, the main characters Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) fall in love and experience a tragic disaster when she loses her memory after a terrible car accident, but you assume that eventually they will be happy again.
The story has several discontinuities and introduces several details that are never brought up again afterwards, such as when Paige is trying to piece her life back together through a photo timeline she creates on their dining room table. Then something dramatic happens. This will happen again and by the third time you will be frustrated that all these events are happening in an unorganized fashion.
But what is the most frustrating is that despite the terrible acting and storyline, you still cry. Your nose is running and your only tissue is soaked with tears and snot and you feel so bad for Leo and his broken heart and want to give him a hug, but then the movie ends (you have no idea it is ending because the ending is atrocious) and all you can think is, “Oh good, this is ending the way I want it to.” But it doesn’t ‘cause it just ends. Right there. That’s it. Worst. Ending. Ever. (Probably.)
The ending doesn’t make any logical rom-com sense until a photo of the family The Vow was inspired by comes up on the screen explaining what happened to her in the end. Then all you can think is: “Oh. Well, shit.” Do not expect what you want to expect, unless the only thing you are expecting from this movie is to see Channing Tatum shirtless. That might be the only satisfying aspect of the film.