'Endless Love' review: Teen romance never felt more fake

Rating

2 Stars2/5

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:01 PM ET

I’m not one to carp about remakes “ruining” originals.

The original Endless Love was no Oscar winner, and is remembered mainly for its theme song and its status as another outrage in the early, racy career of underage screen-virgin Brooke Shields.

But what did sell that movie was its over-the-top melodrama. It was a movie about teens so crazy in love, part of it took place in a mental hospital.

The new Endless Love, with Magic Mike’s Alex Pettyfer as the least convincing high school student in decades, seems like the result of a focus group that decided what the world needs is a nicer, more normal love story.

The names are the same, but the characters are completely different and softened. This Endless Love is basically about teen lovers, David (Pettyfer) and Jade (Gabriella Wilde) who are star-crossed because David is an auto mechanic. Jade’s dad (Bruce Greenwood) therefore considers him not good enough for his med-school-bound daughter.

This seems even more quaint than the ‘80s plot, considering how much mechanics make. Frankly, if a daughter of mine brought home David, my response would be, “You fix cars? Welcome to the family, son!”

Heck, overhaul a few transmissions, and David could probably chip in on Jade’s med school tuition.

So what you’ve got is an unbelievably good-looking couple, in a high school full of unbelievably good-looking students, all of whom look like they graduated from college years ago. Plus a whole lot of tacked-on “issues” that have little directly to do with David and Jade.

There are father issues, mother issues, dead-sibling issues, parental hypocrisy, adultery, irresponsible friends, all of which are really just filler in between tastefully-shot scenes of David and Jade making out in front of fireplaces, in cars, on the grass, and wrestling with their apparently-doomed (but endless) love.

What passes for dramatic conflict is mostly hashed out during a protracted sleepover at Jade’s family’s weekend estate. There, the lines are drawn between Jade’s dad and mom Anne (Joely Richardson, yet another Brit playing American along with Pettyfer and Wilde), the latter of whom finds David sweet and good for her daughter.

So basically, this is less a movie about star-crossed lovers than it is about a dad who is an overprotective jerk who’ll stop at nothing to keep some guy out of his daughter’s pants.

Director Shana Feste (Country Strong) paints some pretty scenery over this bowdlerized drama and is particularly adept at lingering on Pettyfer’s six-pack abs.

As for the love story, there has to be more than model good-looks to create chemistry between a made-for-each-other couple. As they stare moony-eyed at each other, and Pettyfer furrows his brow, one can’t resist asking, “So what is the problem with you two again?”

@jimslotek

jim.slotek@sunmedia.ca


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