By Glenn Dunks
July 4, 2014
If Hollywood insists upon remaking movies left and right, then it makes more sense for them to do it to the likes of Endless Love. The original, a button-pushing romance best remembered for its famous theme song, has been remade by Shana Feste in the sun-drenched style of a clothing commercial, but for a younger audience seeking out a serious exploration of teen sexuality, Endless Love will prove to be soporific and – most disappointing of all – sexually tepid and timid. Filled with inexplicable stupidity on behalf of nearly every character, this is a bland slice of generic pap.
Pretty, upper-class rich girl – and not to mention terminally boring – Jade (Gabriella Wilde) falls for the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, David (Alex Pettyfer), of whom her overbearing father (Bruce Greenwood) disapproves. As they spend their summer running joyfully through picturesque gardens and kissing in the back of a pick-up truck, David’s past comes back to haunt him and threaten their perfect relationship. There’s really little else to the story, which makes for a dragging 100 minutes, the only true benefit of which is the wonderful soundtrack that has assembled Tegan and Sara, Tanlines, Franz Ferdinand and a collection of other indie outfits.
Despite never convincing as either love-struck or teenagers (Pettyfer is 24, Wilde is 25), the two stars are hardly the worst element of Feste’s film. Unlike the similar problems with her last, Country Strong, Endless Love never turns its faults into anything entertaining. The screenplay by Feste and Joshua Safran from Scott Spencer’s novel is a turgid progression of clichés and idiocy lacking any sort of real world connection. The father in particular is a character of such unfathomable hatred that he very quickly descends into something akin to Richard Roxburgh’s moustache-twirling evil duke in Moulin Rouge!
Young audiences are used to being treated as idiots, but features like Endless Love only confirm the worst about this sorely underserved crowd. Missing the awkwardness, and messiness, of teenage love, this film lacks even the conviction of a Mills & Boon that made The Notebook such a winner.
Endless Love will be available from Quickflix on July 3, 2014.