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Thirty-Eight Cliches In ‘The Vow’ Trailer, Other Than Romantic Amnesia

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
February 9, 2012

This weekend marks the release of The Vow, which is not based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, despite having all the gauzy, drowsy look of a Sparks creation. Based on the real-life story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, The Vow tells the tale of a woman (Rachel McAdams) who loses part of her memory after a head injury and doesn’t remember her husband (Channing Tatum). The trailer shows you the terrible moment where she remembers him so little that she assumes he’s part of her medical team, which didn’t apparently happen in real life.

[Note: Perhaps the best line I've heard about this movie comes from my pal Tara Ariano, who noted on Twitter, "The hilarious thing about The Vow is that, even for one second and with a head injury, Rachel McAdams thinks Channing Tatum is a doctor."]

What’s remarkable about this particular trailer is how many romantic-drama cliches are crammed into a two-minute tease, other than amnesia itself. (Cliches about the treatment of amnesia, however, are allowed.) Let’s count them.

1. Quirky wedding where quirky friend is wearing top hat

2. Wacky and romantic escape from the authorities

3. Kiss in front of city buildings

4. Trying on hats while

5. Smearing food on each other

6. Skinny-dipping while

7. Man picks up woman and she shrieks

8. Man serves breakfast

9. Man uses food to communicate feelings

10. Woman doesn’t understand man’s attempt to (sort of) propose

11. Man wears understanding cable-knit sweater

12. Thoughtful narration by romantic man

13. Happy dancing

14. Kiss delivered while tenderly grabbing face of partner

15. Couple lying in rumpled sheets

16. Couple kissing in the snow

17. Terrible accident

18. Amnesiac woman is like, “Who are you?”

19. Amnesiac woman pulls back from man’s touch

20. Man frustratedly runs hands through hair

21. Man slumps miserably to floor in artsy wide shot

22. Woman sits on table to denote feeling scattered

23. Woman sits among photographs to bathe herself in memories

24. Credits strain for prestige state Rachel McAdams is “from The Notebook” (which: for this audience, sure), and that Channing Tatum is “from Dear John” (which: better than She’s The Man, I suppose)

25. Woman watches video of herself to ponder her life

26. Man and woman have earnest discussion while in formalwear in outdoor location strung with twinkle lights

27. Woman walks in slow-motion in the snow wearing adorable fuzzy hat

28. Man stands with tear teetering on eyelid

29. Man asks ponderous rhetorical question about their relationship

30. On-screen question recasts highly personal story in emptiest, most generic terms possible

31. Couple shares box of candy

32. Man smiles lovingly

33. At reflection of wife in window

34. In the rain

35. Man punches rival (HEY, IT’S SCOTT SPEEDMAN! WHY ISN’T THIS MOVIE ABOUT HIM?)

36. Man runs earnestly and urgently

37. Man kisses woman’s cold hands

38. Man and woman conclude song they’ve been singing.

One movie, one trailer, two minutes, 38 cliches on top of amnesia. That is impressive. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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