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The Vow: movie review (+trailer)

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She's so uncomfortable with this hunky stranger and his claims about their marital bliss that she abandons their Chicago apartment for the Lake Forest mansion she grew up in, where Mater (Jessica Lange) and Pater (Sam Neill) while away the hours being even more unpleasant and snobbish than McAdams's parents in "Midnight in Paris."

Leo, meanwhile, hopes that flashbacks and slo-mo, ballad-backed montages will bring back the Paige who severed contact with her family, dropped law school for art school, and fell in love with him.

Amnesia has been at the center of scores of films, mostly melodramas and thrillers. But melodrama and farce are mirror images: The same plot can drive either one, depending wholly on tone. "Memento," let me introduce you to "Clean Slate"; "Spellbound," meet "Desperately Seeking Susan." The melodrama "No Man of Her Own," the thriller "I Married a Dead Man," and the farce "Mrs. Winterbourne" are all based (rather faithfully) on a single Cornell Woolrich novel.

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