Endless Love

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of men being dragged through the theater parking lot by the girlfriends. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde star in Endless Love.

EDL_31_5_Promo_4C_2F.inddCast of Characters:
David Elliot – Alex Pettyfer
Jade Butterfield – Gabriella Wilde
Hugh Butterfield – Bruce Greenwood
Ann Butterfield – Joley Richardson
Harry Elliot – Robert Patrick

Director – Shana Feste
Screenplay – Shana Feste & Joshua Safran
Based on the novel Endless Love by Scott Spencer
Producer – Scott Stuber, Pamela Abdy, Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying

Recently graduated out of high school, Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) has a bright future ahead of her. She plans on following her cardiologist father Hugh’s (Bruce Greenwood) footsteps by interning for med school. Not quite the social butterfly at her school like her deceased older brother was back in the day, Jade asks her parents for a party (and the way she asks for it makes you wonder if she ever had one at all). That’s where she meets David Eliot (Alex Pettyfer).

Unlike Jade, who comes from a wealthy family, David is a blue-collar boy, living with his single mechanic father Harry (Robert Patrick). Naturally, David and Jade meet at her party and fall in love a lot quicker than reality actually allows. Hugh, being the obligatory, overprotective dick that he is, just can’t allow that ’cause David may or may not be hiding a shady past.

Remember when I mentioned that Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s onscreen chemistry in Casablanca can’t get any better? Well, as long as we keep getting films like Endless Love, Bogart and Bergman won’t have to worry about anyone taking their top spot for a long, long time.

So far this week, we’ve gotten one serviceable remake of a great classic (RoboCop), a remake that actually improved upon it’s less-than-stellar original version (About Last Night), and now we got a crappy remake of a crappy original.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you this year’s Safe Haven. I spoke too soon in my review of About Last Night. It was bound to happen. It happens every Valentine’s Day weekend. Hooray for us. Granted, Endless Love – which could’ve also been called Endless Running Time – doesn’t have that God awful twist ending that reared its ass ugly head at us in Safe Haven, but I once again bring back my Batman Forever vs. Batman & Robin argument.

Would you rather be shot in the head, or shot in the balls? The correct answer is neither, of course.

While the novel dealt with a girl falling for a mental patient, the first film adaptation made the taboo issue age difference. Here, with the 2014 remake, the taboo issue is class difference. Good that they go with something fresh. I’ve never seen a rags falls for riches story.

Co-writer/director Shana Feste, and her fellow co-writer Joshua Safran, not only break all the chick flick cliches, they bend them, twist them, rip them up, shatter them into pieces and then glue them all back together, all so they can shatter them once again… and again, and again, and again. Yes, we get the overbearing father that feels the boy will never be good enough for his daughter. We get the mother and the siblings that think the boy is just the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful guy they’ve ever met ’cause he likes to wax philosophical about how “love’s all you need”, and they just don’t know what the hell is wrong with old, cranky daddy. We get the “setup” where the dad gets his reason to say, “See! Look what that little prick did to me! I told you he was trouble!!!!” We get the “Stay away from my daughter or else!” speech. We get the “You can’t tell me what to do! I’m not your baby girl anymore, dad!!!!” response, and we get the predictable climax that makes the dad realize he was wrong and the boy was right.

One by one, we run through ridiculous situation after ridiculous situation, but hey, as Huey Lewis once said, that’s the power of love. How powerful is love exactly? Apparently, powerful enough to make a young and dumb boy steal a car, commit breaking and entering, violate a restraining order in a federal FAA run airport, violate a restraining order to begin with and assault a dad. Okay, that last one, the dad was kinda asking for it.

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb – that’s what these two lovebirds are. Being former models, Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde have the look of a screen presence, but together have the spark and chemistry of watered-down soda.The 7-Up kind too. You ever try that fizzleless crap when the cap’s been left off? It’s disgusting. When Pettyfer and Wilde aren’t boring us with their endless talk (See what I did there?) about how much they wanna make each day count, they’re frolicking in meadows, laughing and giggling and jumping off docks into lakes, all in slow-motion.

So exciting. Can you feel the love?!

Veteran presences Bruce Greenwood, Robert Patrick and Joley Richardson muster what they can from a dry and cliche-riddled script, but find very little to work with. Greenwood just gets to be angry about his dumb daughter throwing her life away over a guy she just met and Richardson’s possibly just as dumb for encouraging her to be that way. “Oh, but she’s in love and it only took a couple days. Isn’t that wonderful?!” It’s nice to see Robert Patrick, for once, play someone that’s not either a douche, hardass or a metallic-liquid machine. As David’s middle-class, levelheaded, single dad, Patrick has a few genuinely nice moments onscreen, but the script still has him grasping at thin air.

Endless Love is the type of film that brags, “Hey, look, we’re so edgy.”, but it ends up being just another cookie-cutter, bland, lifeless chick flick that’s about as edgy as someone at the party thinking they’re cool ’cause they’re smoking those stupid electronic cigarettes, or drinking non-alcoholic beer. It’s not as melodramatic as the original film starring Brooke Shields, but it’s just as unintentionally silly. “Say goodbye to innocence”, says the film’s tagline. That should be followed by, “Say goodbye to intelligence”.

Ah – it’s good to have my cynical self back!

I give Endless Love a D (★).

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