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"ENDLESS LOVE"
(2014) (Gabriella Wilde, Alex Pettyfer) (PG-13)


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QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A high school graduate changes her plans for the summer when she falls for a classmate, much to the chagrin of her father.
PLOT:
17-year-old Jade Butterfield (GABRIELLA WILDE) has just graduated from high school, but nearly no one would know. That's because following the death of her brother two years ago, she's essentially withdrawn from any social interaction. But fellow graduate David Elliot (ALEX PETTYFER) was and still is fully aware of her, something not lost on his best friend, Mace (DAYO OKENIYI). He ends up introducing himself to Jade, prompting her to invite him to her graduation party. It's there that they briefly end up together in a closet, much to the concern of her doctor father, Hugh (BRUCE GREENWOOD).

With Jade's surviving older brother, Keith (RHYS WAKEFIELD) -- who's dating Sabine (ANNA ENGER) -- majoring in communications, Hugh wants his daughter to follow in his medical footsteps. He's arranged a summer internship for her before she heads off to college, something she's not sure she wants to do now that she's smitten with David who isn't planning on attending college. Instead, he's going to work in the auto shop run by his single father, Harry (ROBERT PATRICK).

None of that sits well with Hugh, although his one-time author wife, Anne (JOELY RICHARDSON), isn't as concerned as she's satisfied simply by seeing Jade happy for the first time in a long time. Also not happy with the new relationship is David's ex-girlfriend, Jenny (EMMA RIGBY), but the new couple's biggest concern lies with Jade's father who seems determined to thwart the relationship no matter the cost that has regarding his relationships with those in his family.

OUR TAKE: 3.5 out of 10
Back in the early 1980s, Brooke Shields was a hot Hollywood commodity. Beyond appearing in those racy Calvin Klein jean ads ("You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."), she was fresh off "The Blue Lagoon" and (despite winning the 1st Golden Raspberry Award for worst actress for her work in that film) seemed destined for a long Hollywood run.

Then she appeared as Jade Butterfield in 1981's "Endless Love" and earned her second Razzie nomination (with a few more for subsequent flicks). I'm pretty sure I saw the movie, but I can honestly say I don't recall a thing about it beyond Shields playing the lead and the film featuring the title song -- that went to #1 on the charts -- by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie.

Thus, the question of the moment is why remake the flick, especially as no one I know in the reviewer world can summon up any memories of it and since so much of the plot has been changed that it's no longer essentially the same story. Whatever the case, and following a breather of more than three decades, we now have the new version. And guess what? It's just as forgettable as the original, and many a viewer could easily mistake it for some equally drab if overwrought troubled romance flick from Nicolas Sparks.

That said, at least this updated version -- courtesy of writer/director Shana Feste and co-writer Joshua Safran -- made me laugh from time to time. Not in an intentional way, mind you, and certainly not from any sort of material that would normally generate such a reaction. But there I was, laughing along with increasing numbers of viewers at our press screening as the melodrama, clichés and/or stupid behavior piled up like some unexpected traffic accident.

Had the filmmakers known that audiences would giggle over the idiocy of the two young lovers (Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer) just hanging out in the morning in clear sight in her parents' house after having just had sex for the first time, or the laughs would come when her stern and controlling father (Bruce Greenwood) takes the young man out for a boat ride away from the rich family's lake house, this could have turned into something fun. You know, like high camp playing up and off the melodrama, or perhaps a black comedy where things would take a decidedly unexpected (and dark) twist.

Instead, they stay true to the course and continue to play it straight. All of which means some initial good will toward the characters and their budding romance is for naught, particularly as predictability in the plot begins to kick in. The performances from all of the above along with Joely Richardson as the girl's mother, Robert Patrick as the boy's father, and Dayo Okeniyi as the boy's best friend, are generally okay. Alas, the plotting, dialogue and direction do none of them any favors.

The result is a listless teen romance flick that I suppose might entice and engage older tween and younger teen girls with its scenario and attractive leads, but will otherwise feel endless to most everyone else. Likely to end up alongside the Brooke Shields version as a film that few will be able to recall more than thirty years from now, "Endless Love" might generate a few laughs, but that's not enough to save the pic or earn it any sort of recommendation. It rates as a 3.5 out of 10.




Reviewed February 11, 2013 / Posted February 14, 2013


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