"The Vow" is like a Nicholas Sparks novel with a dash of wit, a hint of edge and a smidgen less sap. It's a romance in "The Notebook" tradition -- "inspired by true events" and scripted by committee. But as such concoctions go, it's not half bad.
Not that there aren't bad, insipid things about it. Start with the narration, and the narrator, Leo, played by Channing Tatum with as much lovesick charm as he can muster.
Leo is remembering the all-consuming love he shared with Paige, played by the always winsome Rachel McAdams. Leo has to remember, because Paige, as we learn 15 minutes into the film, has lost her memory in a car accident. Not all of it -- just the last five years, her years with Leo.
Gone are recollections of the day they met, their courtship and wedding, where Leo vowed to fiercely love her, and she vowed "to live within the warmth of your heart."
She wakes up and can't remember any of that.
Or that she quit law school, abandoned her sorority girl/Lake Forest friends and her Lake Forest parents, played with possessive malevolence by Jessica Lange and Sam Neill.
Paige has lost her taste for vegetarian foods and her talent for sculpting. Leo resolves to help her remember, and to find a way back into her heart. If only she'll let him.
It only that "old life" she does remember weren't so affluent and attractive.
"I married him," Paige tells her snooty family. "It must have been for some reason."