Imagine “Ghost” without the potter’s wheel, no Demi-Patrick heat — no Whoopi and no “whoopie.”
That’s “Endless,” a teen romance about love that endures past an untimely death, an entirely tepid affair, thanks to a romance that is more photogenic than passionate.
Alexandra Shipp (“Love, Simon” and “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”) and Nicholas Hamilton of “It” star as the mismatched lovers separated by a car crash.
“We totally didn’t make sense on paper,” she narrates.
Chris is a little older, having barely graduated from high school, with few prospects we can see. Riley’s rich, waiting to hear from Georgetown — on a path to law school.
But but…he has a motorcycle, a leather jacket! And he’s the latest Aussie to bear a faint resemblance to James DEAN.
She doodles graphic novels on the side, but art isn’t where the money is. He…well, we don’t see much of his outside-the-relationship life.
We don’t get much of anything out of the relationship, either — a little kissing in dramatic (Pacific Northwest) settings. And just like that, she’s accepted at the cross-country school, there’s a party, an argument, drinking and a wreck.
Queue “Unchained Melody.” Just kidding. That song is nowhere to be found, but otherwise, basically what we deal with from here on out is “Ghost.”
Yes, death comes abruptly, as it does in real life. But it comes so quickly in the film. Or maybe it just seems that way, because we haven’t had time to commit to the romance, to share Riley’s heartbreak on waking up in the hospital, with Chris in the room, to be told Chris is dead.
Only nobody told him.
“I’m not dead! I’m not dead!” Nobody hears you, dear.
You know what follows, or would if you’ve seen other versions of this sort of story — “Ghost” being the most famous. We get a glimpse of Riley’s grief, and we follow Chris into the afterlife, where he runs into ghosts who are hostile, and a friendly tour guide (DeRon Horton of “Dear White People,” the TV series).
“The one absolute rule of being dead is that you CAN’T contact the living!”
You KNOW that’s the rule these crazy, lovesick kids are going to find a way to break.
Whatever variations on a theme this script offers, none of it works without the ache we’re supposed to feel for those torn apart by sudden death. “Endless” never delivers that.
The one person who makes us feel the tragedy is Chris’s working class mom. Famke Janssen knows how to play that, dissolving into howls of pain, lashing out at the rich girl who reaches out to apologize for the wreck.
Shipp sheds a tear or two, and reacts to the first flashes of the supernatural she experiences from Chris “reaching out” the way we do — with a hair-raising start.
But without seeing that love, and more importantly feeling it, nothing else about the movie matters. “Endless” staggers ever-onward, adding more story and not for one minute making us care.
MPAA Rating: unrated, alcohol abuse, some profanity
Cast: Alexandra Shipp, Nicholas Hamilton, Zoë Belkin, Eddie Ramos and Famke Janssen
Credits: Directed by Scott Speer, script by Andre Case and Oneil Sharma. A Quiver release.
Running time: 1:34