(Published in The Sunday Guardian, dated 11 March, 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/till-amnesia-do-us-part)
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill
Director: Michael Sucsy
Rating: 2.5 stars
So, this girl’s discussing having babies with her husband – never mind that he’s the kind of idiot who’d park a car in the middle of a snow-covered street at night. Because she’s the kind of idiot who thinks babies are best conceived in a camouflaged car on a foggy night. When the husband, who’s apparently a cowboy running a recording studio, ruins the moment with his “theory about moments of impact”, a truck does what you want to do – rams into the car, sending Paige (Rachel McAdams) flying in slow-mo through the windshield.
When she wakes from coma a few days later, she can’t remember being married to the debt-ridden guy with the awful dress sense (Channing Tatum). Doesn’t help that Leo plays her an innuendo-laden voice message in front of her feather-and-fur clad parents, to prove he was once married to her. The wedding video’s at home, you see. Leo’s slow that way. It takes him an hour into this hour-and-a-half long movie to figure out he has to make his wife fall in love with him again. Wow. He goes to his business partner for advice – and after vicariously experiencing their sex life, she suggests he tickle his wife. No wonder their studio’s sinking.
With a better script, this could have actually been a sweet, if sentimental, rom-com. Or, a realistic drama with an unconventional end. However, an interesting concept is undermined by predictable dialogue, implausible coincidence, archetypal characters and poor comic timing. Worse, there’s Leo’s pop philosophy. An exchange ten minutes into the film takes on metaphysical connotations to the discerning viewer: “Did you just fart?” “No!” “Oh.” “Maybe a little.”
Rachel McAdams and Sam Neill, who plays Paige’s father, are the only cast members who don’t look like they’re waiting to wrap up the shoot and return home. Sadly, McAdams get little opportunity to portray the awkwardness of sharing intimate moments with a man whom she can’t bring herself to love, despite knowing she once did. And Neill’s character reminds me of the mean, rich Daddy whose daughters got knocked up by righteous vagabonds in Hindi films of the Sixties and Seventies.
The lazy screenplay meanders from a brain-dead beginning (no puns intended), to a sagging middle, to a twist-in-the-tail. Throw in a photograph of the family whose “true story” inspired this film, and stock shots of Chicago, and voila, there’s your low-budget date movie.
The Verdict: It’s a shame that the execution killed a story that could have played out charmingly.