Movie Review #832: Boy meets girl. Girl’s father interferes. Relationship has its ups and downs. Audience experiences déjà vu.
By Alexander Diminiano
|Rated PG-13 (contains sexual content, partial nudity, alcohol use, profanity)|
Hmm, let’s see what we have here. Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) is antisocial. She’s been that way all through high school. But then she meets David and decides she’s in love with him. And that she wants to throw a party, which of course is something antisocial people probably do all the time. And when she has her party, she opens up without hesitation to this guy she likes. After all, antisocial people are never really that shy. And she escapes her house once the party’s over so she can make out with this guy. Because not being social means you’re just a lot braver than everybody else.
I have three things to say about this. One, “Endless Love” is a pathetic mess of clichés. Two, Jade barely knows the guy she’s so desperate to make out with. She’s convinced she’s in love with him. To be fairly honest, this makes not one but of sense to me. And three, this is not how antisocial people act, damn it! In fact, it’s just the opposite.
This is as close as Hollywood gets to a Nicholas Sparks adaptation without placing the events on a North Carolina beach. Everybody in “Endless Love” is basically the same person: rich, obnoxious, unaware of and incapable of appreciating how rich and obnoxious they are, and acting-impaired. Alex Pettyfer might be the most dreadful face in the whole cast. He’s English, and hearing him try so miserably to take on a British accent is no better than hearing fingernails run down a blackboard. (It’s possible that she likes him because he’s British. Though Brit-philia is something that seems to plague American women, and Jade is played by a Brit, as well.)
Gabriella Wilde gives a wooden performance as the other half of this couple. For those who actually saw her as Sue Snell in last year’s remake of “Carrie”, Wilde was the incubus who transformed one of Stephen King’s greatest, darkest, most gothic antagonists into the perky subject of a gossip column. This being a probable sign of the oncoming apocalypse, I can’t imagine that this actress has any talent whatsoever, at least in the acting business. Okay, maybe she’s not an incubus. But an actress like Wilde appearing in this role makes me all the more curious why Julianne Hough wasn’t considered. She could’ve spiced the character up a bit.
“Endless Love” chronicles the summer as spent by two recent high school graduates, Jade and David. Jade’s daddy thinks it’s a good idea if she interns somewhere in three weeks, and he warns her that the relationship she’s started with this David kid is going to have to be over in a matter of three weeks. She refuses to do the internship, and we realize that her daddy’s only saying that they have to split up soon because he hates David. And I don’t mean he just disapproves of him like most daddies in romance movies. He hates the living scheiße out of this kid. Halfway through, David discovers he’s having an affair. He senses that this might mean his Jade’s in danger, so he goes to the court and settles a restraining order against the boyfriend. There’s a house fire at the end of the movie, and we’re just beginning for this heartless bastard to die. “Endless Love” is a curious title because this is not a love story anymore than it is a hate story. It’s not about these two spending the summer together, not is it about their love for each other. It’s depressingly Cinderella-like in its caricatured recycling of the romance genre. It’s about a couple trying to spend time with each other, while the evil father tries to keep his daughter locked inside the house, incapable of meeting with the one she loves.