If Valentine's Day is near, there must be a mushy chick flick. So just in time, Hollywood wraps Channing Tatum in a bow and gives him to the female moviegoers to swoon.


Tatum, who had five films in 2011 alone, starts off 2012 with the first of another four films ("21 Jump Street", "G.I. Joe: Retaliation", "Magic Mike", and "Foxcathcer") to assure that he stay's in our mind. "The Vow" has Tatum as Leo, a music studio owner who becomes smitten with a young lady named Paige (Rachel McAdams) when the meet in a parking lot. Oh course she can't resist him and soon they are inseparable and on the way to marital bliss.


That part is told in flash back, because at the beginning of the film, their car is rear-ended by a City of Chicago Sanitation department truck forcing Paige through the windshield.

She lives, but has lost her immediate memory including her marriage to Leo, her occupation as a sculptor, her current friends or why she dropped out of law school. It is Leo's job, to try to jolt her memory and bring her up to speed.


This would make "The Vow" pretty much like every other amnesia flick including "50 First Dates", "While You Were Sleeping", "Overboard", etc. The spin in this case is the big obstacle Leo faces in the likes of her parents played by Sam Neill and Jessica Lange.


Neill is a high powered, very successful attorney who encouraged Paige to go to law school and would like nothing more than to have her back in school and not as a artist. between the two, they do everything to get Paige to return home - which is actually the only memory she has - and leave Leo.


There is also a former beau named Jeremy (Scott Speedman) who is also quite successful, whom she dumped. Well, he sees her amnesia as an opportunity to pounce as well. All this leaves Leo out on his own trying to win her back.

Leo becomes the underfunded underdog going against the good memories Paige thinks she had prior to meeting Leo. This is all based on a real couple that went through this ordeal.


Director Michael Sucsy has traveled this road once before with HBO film "Grey Gardens" that reminisced about Jackie Kennedy Onassis' aunt and cousin "Big" and "Little" Edith Bouvier Beale and their withdrawal from high society. "The Vow" dips along those lines of family secrets that might cause a fracture of one's senses.


"The Vow" explores more if Paige's rejection of her current life for her previous life while resisting why she left her previous life in the first place. Adding the manipulative parents was a creatively smart move to separate "The Vow" from the aforementioned memory flicks.


Channing Tatum is his usual, flexing and providing cheescake for the swooning female movie goers. Rachel McAdams provides the meat tackling the difficult role of mood swings, denial and acceptance. Neill, is the better of the two parents and loathsome in his own right.


"The Vow" is above average for not clinging strictly to a smarmy amnesia tale, but adding a tale of greed and deception to the recipe. Women will get their fill of saying "Aw" for Paige and "Woohoo!" for Leo.   -- GEOFF BURTON