Kids, this is not your parents’ “Endless Love.”
Scott Spencer’s novel of romantic obsession so strong that it flirts with
mental illness has had its sharp edges rubbed off, its dramatic weight lifted
and its focus shifted in this adaptation from the director of “Country
There’s nothing dangerous about this teen love on steroids. There’s no
showcase sex scene, the selling point of the infamous 1981 Brooke Shields/Franco
Zeffirelli adaptation. The kids here come off as perfectly reasonable, the
adults are the problem — but even their efforts to separate the lovebirds are
Still, even without that tragic Romeo/Juliet edge or the hit theme song by
Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross, it does have a stellar cast who keep things real
even if the lighter touches turn this into a far more conventional teen
Alex Pettyfer is David, the car mechanic’s son who falls — hard — for the
gorgeous Jade, played by the super-model skinny “Carrie” co-star Gabriella
Wilde. So we get it.
They graduate from high school together, never having spoken. But David, he’s
seen “the possibility of us.” And Jade, shut-off from her peers, smothered by a
family still mourning a brother who died two years before, is simply swept off
He rescues her ill-planned graduation party, and when he gets off on the
wrong foot with her stern surgeon dad (Bruce Greenwood, terrific), mechanic boy
David finds an automotive way to make it up to the doctor, fixing up the
family’s ancient MGB.
Jade’s mom (Joely Richardson) is touched. Jade’s brother (Rhys Wakefield of
“The Purge”) is charmed.
Only Dr. Hugh (Greenwood) is seeing red. He’s got his daughter’s future
planned, and those plans start with a summer internship. The boy is
“Does he know this is going to end in a couple of weeks?” he snaps to
The way this story is supposed to work is that Dad’s threats and efforts to
keep the kids apart works on David’s fragile, lovesick mind and makes him
desperate. Pettyfer (“Magic Mike”) doesn’t suggest that, as this David is
written as all lovesick and moon-eyed. He’s harmless. Jade is in love for the
first time, but Wilde doesn’t get across the breathless yearning that raises the
stakes of their affair when Daddy pulls more than a few tricks out of his bag to
try and split them up.</P>
Robert Patrick is winning as David’s gruff but indulgent dad, and Dayo
Okeniyi scores as David’s goofy, lovable pal “Mace.”
Director/co-writer Shana Feste concocts what could have been an engaging if
stunningly predictable “Endless Love,” from the pop music montage courtship
sequences to Dad’s drive the boy out on a boat to set him straight about what’s
not going to happen with his daughter.
Greenwood and Richardson make a fine, discordant couple and the young leads
have a certain chemistry. If only Feste had realized she’d stripped almost all
the conflict out of the story, that you can’t flip motivations and turn
everybody into “reasonable” people and have anything like an interesting drama
Even the Brooke Shields version got that right.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language
and teen partying
Cast: Alex Pettyer, Gabriella Wilde, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Bruce
Credits: Directed Shana Feste, written by Shana Feste and Joshua Safran,
based on the SCott Spencer novel. A Universal. release. >
Running time: 1:43
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