Synopsis: The story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart.
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi, Emma Rigby, Joely Richardson
Director: Shana Feste
Running Length: 103 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (6/10)
Review: My first impression of this remake of 1981’s Endless Love was not positive. It’s formulaic construction, slightly above average performances, and treacley love story wasn’t anything to write home about even if it did get the job done if you were to step back and look at its target audience. Then I did my homework and watched the awful original film and skimmed the book it was adapted from. Now, not only do I find myself giving the film a higher rating than I would have but also can’t help but recommend it to those looking for a movie to go along with the Valentine’s Day weekend ahead.
Make no mistake about it…this is a film that’s quite aware of its customer and does everything in the book to give them their money’s worth. You’ve got two gorgeous leads made up of nimble limbs extending from toned figures with great hair and just the right amount of perspiration with fleeting glimpses of the kind of chemistry so vacant from “romance” films created from market research. Throw in some drama about true love being kept apart and a production/costume design that would make white-washed director Nancy Myers (The Holiday, It’s Complicated) drool and it’s nearly a license to print date-movie money.
Of course, to really enjoy this you’ll have to overlook the flaws that follow the film around like an unwanted stalker. Though the film is removed enough from the source material that the author of the 1979 novel isn’t even mentioned (it’s Scott Spencer by the way) it still retains the names and certain plot developments.
Instead of love being in full bloom at the beginning, Jade (Gabriella Wilde, maybe the best thing in the recent remake of Carrie) and David (Alex Pettyfer, maybe the worst thing in 2012’s Magic Mike) aren’t even acquaintances at the start of the film. Blue collar David pines for upper-crust Jade but it takes a chance encounter at Jade’s country club for valet David to get into her eye line. From there, as the tagline of the film states, Say Goodbye to Innocence.
The infamous scene from the original which found Jade’s mother watching her daughter and David make love in front of a fireplace with googly eyes is thankfully nowhere to be found…though a fireplace does play into the eventual coupling. Instead of it being David against the family, the film is more focused on how Jade’s father (an always dependable Bruce Greenwood, Flight, Devil’s Knot) takes issue with his medical-school bound daughter risking her future on a boy with none to speak of.
I always get a little squirmy with the whole “Dad Doesn’t Like Boyfriend, Prefers to Keep Daughter a Child Forever” arcs because it seems a little pervish to me. Director/screenwriter Shana Feste (Country Strong) does us a solid and doesn’t bother hammering this point home…but this odd obsession with his daughter’s romantic relationship hangs in the air longer than necessary.
For a movie set in the heat of a Georgia summer, it has a remarkable amount of foreign actors doing their darndest to hide their accents to varying degrees of success. Of the eight top billed stars, only one is American (Robert Patrick as David’s mechanic father) and the rest find themselves struggling with putting a southern twist on the dialogue. Joely Richardson (also appearing now in the dreadful Vampire Academy) seems to want to do something more with her character but can’t find a way to rise above an underwritten role. The less said about supporting players Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), obnoxious Dayo Okeniyi, and especially puffer lipped Emma Rigby, the better.
Even though this has its fair share of eye-rolls at the non-problems that somehow become major issues, when all is said and done credit must be given to Feste and company for putting a spit-shine on what could have been a real slog of a film. It’s light years better than the tawdry trash of the original and works almost in spite of itself. Recommended for those who are accustomed to easily shrugging off watching a Lifetime movie on a rainy Sunday.