The Films of Michael Sucsy
The Vow (February 21/12)
The Vow details the chaos that ensues for married couple Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) after she loses her memory in a car crash, with the film subsequently revolving around Leo's ongoing efforts at winning back the affections of his wife (who has now reverted back to her upper-class, teenage self). Though it eventually morphs into a seriously tedious little drama, The Vow, which boasts an easygoing, affable opening half hour, admittedly does start out with a fair bit of promise - as the perfectly watchable vibe is heightened by McAdams and Tatum's charismatic work together (ie the pair share a great deal of natural chemistry with one another). It's only as the details of Paige's memory loss emerge that the film begins to lose its hold on the viewer, with the absurdity of the character's circumstances ensuring that the narrative grows sillier and sillier as time progresses (eg Paige reconciles with her comically slimy former boyfriend, Scott Speedman's Jeremy). There is, as such, little doubt that The Vow fares best in its comparatively smaller moments (ie Paige's attempts at getting to know Leo all over again), as the film otherwise boasts the pervasive feel of a generic Lifetime movie-of-the-week - with the continuing emphasis on Leo's clashes with the snooty folks from Paige's old life exacerbating the decidedly tedious atmosphere. It's ultimately not surprising to note that the tearjerking finale falls completely and utterly flat, which effectively confirms The Vow's place as a sporadically passable yet consistently underwhelming romantic drama.
Based on David Levithan's superb novel, Every Day follows teenager Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) as she spends an uncommonly lovely afternoon with her boyfriend (Justice Smith's Justin) and eventually discovers that he was, in fact, possessed by a being known as A at the time - with the story detailing the unusual friendship that subsequently ensues between Rhiannon and A. (A appears in the form of a new person every single day, which certainly does complicate things.) It's a high-concept premise that's employed to consistently engaging effect by filmmaker Michael Sucsy, and yet there's little doubt that the movie suffers from a comparatively underwhelming opening stretch - as this portion of the proceedings, generally speaking, plays out like a fairly typical teen drama (ie there's a heavy emphasis on Rhiannon and Justin's strained coupling). Rice's tremendously appealing performance goes a long way towards keeping things interesting even during the movie's less-than-impressive moments, however, and Every Day benefits substantially from the actress' impressive ability to establish chemistry with each of the many actors playing A. The film does, as a result, grow more and more engrossing as it progresses, with Rhiannon and A's increasingly compelling bond paving the way for a second half that's nothing short of riveting in parts - with the movie's success cemented by a stirring climax that's as emotional as it is satisfying.