If you’re ever interested in watching a 1980s remake, Endless Love should not be the one you choose to see. Filled with whimsically over-the-top romantic shenanigans and melodrama galore, the film makes it a point to prove that love, even young, we-haven’t-known-each-other-long-but-let’s-have-sex love can overcome all. It can even overcome a jerk of a father’s attitude towards his family and actions towards his daughter’s boyfriend, too.
Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) has just graduated from high school. Her oldest brother Chris died while she was in middle school from cancer, and ever since then she’s been hanging around only her family. She hides away behind a book, has no social life, and no friends, but is set to go to Brown for college and major in pre-med because that’s what she and her father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) have discussed.
Enter David Elliott (Alex Pettyfer), a fellow graduate and someone who’s liked Jade from afar for two years. He works as a valet for a local country club where Jade and her family are members (or worked, since he was fired after taking one of the haughty and asshole member’s Maserati for a spin). It’s there he first really talks to Jade, after which they quickly develop a growing infatuation for each other and David earns the ire from Jade’s dad. Within a couple of weeks, Jade wants to throw away her pre-med internship and be with David all summer. And while Hugh’s hatred and aggressiveness is unwarranted, it makes for the only real plot in the entire film.
The film is one of those ridiculous romances that throws in our faces fun-loving couples who do crazy things with each other for a good time, kiss everywhere, and declare their undying adoration and loyalty for each other. The problem with these couples and their ability to be at all believable is that they have no relationship substance to begin with. If staring at each other for long periods of time and running through fields is your idea of love, then this movie is for you. If it’s not, then you better look elsewhere for fear of wanting to rip your hair out in frustration.
Why must these films insist on portraying these young, fragile, innocent girls who have no friends and no real social life? Why does the guy always have to swoop in and start doing all these things for the girl in order to show her what life’s supposed to be like? These things are frustrating specifically because they’re usually teenage girls who are portrayed this way. The young, wide-eyed heroine who falls in love and has to have the guy rescue her from her controlling father. It’s so cliche and uninteresting in this day and age that it’s really getting old and annoying to watch.
Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde have a little bit of chemistry, but it’s all overshadowed by the awfulness that is everything else. Their performances, however, are subpar at best. They don’t ever try to rise above the terrible script. Their romance doesn’t really have any depth to it, and all the drama comes from the subplot with her father and his controlling personality.
Bruce Greenwood is the most watchable in terms of acting, because, you know, he actually acts. There’s also the obligatory and bitchy ex-girlfriend who has to make an appearance just because. And Wilde especially gets a little aggravating after awhile because she’s all cutesy with no real personality to speak of. If the film had been focused on Greenwood’s storyline (because he semi had one), the film might have been a lot more interesting, even if his subplot only created even more melodrama.
Endless Love tries to create this vision (or illusion really) of this epic love story and romance between the two lead characters. But the whole thing is tactless, plotless, has no range of any kind of emotional depth, and makes the big mistake of making an asshole character out of Greenwood to make the story seem more enticing because the filmmakers know that there’s nothing else going for the movie. The film easily gets boring to watch within the first twenty minutes, and the remaining hour and a half or so are too overbearing, cheesy, and try to suck up to the audience to plead its case. If you’re looking for something filled with a little melodrama and romance, watch a music video of a slow song. It’s much shorter to sit through.