Review by Peter Gray
RELEASE DATE: 13th February 2014
DIRECTOR: Shana Feste
CAST: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick
CLASSIFICATION: M (Infrequent Coarse Language)
THE 1981 romance outing ‘Endless Love’ wasn’t exactly a film that was screaming out to be remade, and if it wasn’t for the Lionel Richie/Diana Ross duet of the same name, the film would probably barely register on anyone’s radar.
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For its 2014 incarnation, ‘Endless Love’ has opted out of being a carbon copy and, apart from the same character names, is very much a standard by-the-numbers teen drama tailor made for the Nicholas Sparks crowd.
Jade (Gabriella Wilde) is a privileged but socially inward young girl who has just graduated from high school with no fanfare from her peers and a career in pre-med all set to go. David (Alex Pettyfer) is that guy from the wrong side of the tracks, with an obvious dark past but a heart of gold who, as we quickly learn via voice-over, has admired Jade from afar for years.
If you forget the fact that Jade is so strikingly gorgeous (albeit in that generic California blonde way) that her being a social outcast at school seems like a stretch, and David, with his brooding good looks and strong jaw that’s ripe for opening beer bottles on, comes off confident enough to be able to talk to any girl in school, you might be able to succumb to their inevitable romance which stems from David taking Jade on a joyride in a car he “borrows” from the valet service he works at.
It isn’t long before they are head over heels in love with each other, the accompanying soundtrack even telling us how to feel with its strategically placed pop tunes, and it expectedly comes to a head with her disapproving father (Bruce Greenwood).
Over the runtime, a svelte 100 minutes, David and Jade’s relationship sails by with daddy dearest growing more concerned at every junction before it comes to a violent (by this film’s standards at least) halt.
The ‘endless’ of the title seems rather fitting as there’s nothing of worth developed, and every moment that wants to invoke a reaction from the audience – you mean David has a dark past?!?! How did we not see that coming?!?! – is so easily pre-meditated that you can safely guess the ending of the film before the opening credits roll – and they don’t last long.
I’m perhaps being a bit too harsh on this one, again I’m not the target market, and I love a sappy romance as much as the next guy masking a guilty pleasure, but ‘Endless Love’ failed to do anything else other than play out exactly as I expected it to.
Pettyfer is a great looking guy, we’ll overlook the fact he is far older than the 18 years he’s meant to be here, and he could have a great career but he seems far too content to coax along on his appearance and that’s basically all he does here. Wilde fares a little better despite that fact she’s far too pretty to be the shut-in she’s pegged as, but again it’s all about her aesthetics and she hasn’t bothered to elevate her character beyond its simple description. Gr
eenwood and Joely Richardson as Jade’s parents put in a bit more effort, Greenwood especially as the near-villainous dad, and relative newcomer Dayo Okeniyi provides a bit of spark as the token best friend to David, but they’re not enough to save this film from the cyclic bore it ultimately is.
I’m sure the young female crowd will lap this one up, and with Valentine’s Day this weekend I have to hand it to the distributors on seizing an opportunity with its perfectly timed release, but I’d take a single dinner for one over this paltry affair.
My rating 2/5 (Even the original was better)