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The Vow Review: Dear Rachel McAdams: Please Stop It. Stop It Right Now

By Dustin Rowles | Film | February 10, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | February 10, 2012 |

Dear Rachel McAdams —

You are amazing. You are an actress with endless talent. You have a smile that could kill a supervillain, a face that could light up an Alaskan winter, and a presence so captivating you could walk into a crowded room and be arrested for false imprisonment. You are one of the most radiant, beautiful, charming actresses in Hollywood.

Stop using it for evil.

What kind of criminal sociopath do you have for an agent? Why do you insist on wasting all of that divine talent to be a Nicholas Sparks groupie? What kind of cruel, abusive step-mother raised you and told you that you’d never amount to more than the poster girl for emotional manipulation porn? Where is your self-esteem, woman? You and Gosling, you had it all. You made a crappy movie that the masses swallowed right along with their goddamn tissues and pride, and Gosling harnessed all that power for good. He went one way, and you started turning tricks for shitty romance novelists. I love Michelle Williams, and Jennifer Lawrence, and Carey Mulligan, but listen to me, McAdams, and listen to me hard: You can be better. Because you posses the power of achy vulnerability, the ability to break souls in half with a simple glance.

And you use it for this? The Vow? Some bullshit little knock-off of Regarding Henry opposite Charming Potato? Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. Come on! Fly McSpud seems like a terrific guy, even if he does look like a tube of toothpaste shat out a head with a nice smile. But he’s poison, lady. He’s like the love child of Keanu Reeves and Dwayne Johnson, with half the charm and twice the wood: Sure, the awww shucks thing is cute, but the man couldn’t act his way through wet tissue paper. He’s like a deadly sponge that absorbs beauty and charm; like a rubber room where talent goes to bounce around in its straight jacket. He’s a meathead; yes, he may be an adorable meat head, but let him do what he does best — kick things and break dance — and you can do what you do best, which is to stop traffic with a goddamn wink.

And this movie? Holy sh*t, woman. If someone ate a box of Hallmark cards, puked them up, and smeared them all over film reel, The Vow would be the result. The director doesn’t even know how to manipulate properly. It’s like sticking an adorable kitten inside of a dead fish. People have had bowel movements more romantic than The Vow.

Here’s the Cliff Notes version: A free spirited, liberal artist vegan falls in love with a musician. They get married. They get in a car accident. The free spirit loses all memory of the past five years. Her brain resets to back when she was in law school, back when she ate meat, lived in the suburbs, and straightened her hair every morning, before she ditched her parents because they were conservative douchebags, and before she left her fiance because he was a smarmy tool shed. In that time, however, the douchebags and the tool’s shed never changed, so she easily fell back into her old life, forgetting why it was she left in the first place. The people in her old life were given another opportunity to fuck up, while the musician husband — who is now a stranger — is left to make this prissy woman with a stick up her ass not only find herself again, but fall in love with him all over.

Guess how it ends? If you said, “She marries her old boyfriend and lives happily ever after with her dickhead parents,” you win a special helmet because you’re an idiot.

Look, Rachel: You’re sweet and lovely and you should be in ALL the movies, but not this one. When you initially read the screenplay, and there was a scene in it in which your male co-star farts in the car, and you roll up the window as a romantic gesture (for real, people), that’s the moment you should’ve tossed the script in the fire and moved on to something more worthy of your talents. You can do better than The Vow, because The Vow is a butt-stupid film with all the romantic possibilities of asbestos exposure.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.