May 23, 2014

Blu-Ray Review: ENDLESS LOVE (2014)

Starring Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi. Directed by Shana Feste. (2014, 105 min).
Universal Studios Home Entertainment

This is a remake of the teen-porn camp classic that had us rolling in the aisles back in 1981. The main thing I remember from that one is being dragged kicking-and-screaming to the theater by my girlfriend, then literally howling at the sight of Martin Hewitt’s oh-Jade-I-love-you-soooo-MUCH sexpression during a particular ‘climactic’ scene (pardon the pun). That film was a syrupy bastardization of a much darker novel by Scott Spencer, rendered unintentionally hilarious by failed attempts at eroticism, Hallmark card dialogue and Brooke Shields’ spot-on impression of a Nordstrom mannequin. In other words, Endless Love was a lot of fun.

This new version isn’t as gloriously goofy (though some dialogue is still chuckleworthy). The basic story remains: David and Jade, two high school kids rendered stupid by obsessive love, much to the chagrin of Jade’s overprotective dad, who does everything within his power to break them up. But because it isn't as laughably awful, there isn’t a hell of a lot left to enjoy, mainly because the story itself was never inherently compelling. Without all the original's campy charm, it's just a checklist of teen romance tropes we've seen before. As David & Jade, Alex Pettyfer & Gabriella Wilde look they were cast more for their looks than their ability (and Pettyfer looks a hell of a lot older than a high school graduate). Only Bruce Greenwood & Robert Patrick, as the kids' fathers, manage to rise above the material and bring real depth to their characters. Ironically, by making a more competent film, this is a less entertaining one.

"You've got something in your teeth."
However, I’m a middle-aged male, obviously not this movie’s intended audience. Sure, I can compare it to the deliciously-dumb original, but that would be selling this one short. This is aimed at young girls who probably still think their first love will always be their greatest, which is why I won’t delve into the ultimately-awful message it sends to impressionable youth (any parent watching the film will know what I’m talking about). It’s essentially Twilight without vampires and a teens-only club. Its gorgeous young stars and simplistic story presents teen love in black and white terms (David & Jade's first tryst between the sheets is, of course, beautiful and glorious, cementing their love...unlike the rest of us who’d probably rather forget the first time we tried having sex).

I can see how Endless Love would appeal to teenagers, since it totally plays-up the idea that falling in love as early as possible is the only goal worth striving for. I thought that once, too, ironically while dating the girl who dragged me to see the original Endless Love in the first place. Like David & Jade, we thought our love was unbreakable and got married right out of high school, followed shortly after by an acrimonious divorce...

...Hey! I think I just came up with a realistic sequel!


  • Making of Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Ending (!)

(OUT OF 5, though you might add a kitten if you're under 15)

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