The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

Weekend to-do list
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

'Endless Love' remake only shadow of the original

Kids, this is not your parents' "Endless Love."
Scott Spencer's novel of a romantic obsession so strong that it flirts with mental illness has had its sharp edges rubbed off, its dramatic weight lifted and its focus shifted in this adaptation from the director of "Country Strong."
There's nothing dangerous about this teen love on steroids. There's no showcase sex scene, the selling point of the infamous 1981 Brooke Shields / Franco Zeffirelli adaptation. The kids here come off as perfectly reasonable; the adults are the problem — but even their efforts to separate the lovebirds are watered down.
Still, even without that tragic Romeo / Juliet edge or the hit theme song by Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross, it does have a stellar cast who keep things real even if the lighter touches turn this into a far more conventional teen romance.
Alex Pettyfer is David, the car mechanic's son who falls — hard — for the gorgeous Jade, played by the supermodel-skinny "Carrie" co-star Gabriella Wilde. So we get it.
They graduate from high school together, never having spoken. But David, he's seen "the possibility of us." And Jade, shut-off from her peers, smothered by a family still mourning a brother who died two years before, is simply swept off her feet.
He rescues her ill-planned graduation party, and when he gets off on the wrong foot with her stern surgeon dad (Bruce Greenwood, terrific), mechanic boy David finds an automotive way to make it up to the doctor, fixing up the family's ancient MGB.
Jade's mom (Joely Richardson) is touched. Jade's brother (Rhys Wakefield of "The Purge") is charmed.
Only Dr. Hugh (Greenwood) is seeing red. He's got his daughter's future planned, and those plans start with a summer internship. The boy is interfering.
The way this story is supposed to work is that Dad's threats and efforts to keep the kids apart works on David's fragile, lovesick mind and makes him desperate. Pettyfer ("Magic Mike") doesn't suggest that, as this David is written as all lovesick and moon-eyed. He's harmless. Jade is in love for the first time, but Wilde doesn't get across the breathless yearning that raises the stakes of their affair when Daddy pulls more than a few tricks out of his bag to try and split them up.
Robert Patrick is winning as David's gruff but indulgent dad, and Dayo Okeniyi scores as David's goofy, loveable pal Mace.
Director / co-writer Shana Feste concocts what could have been an engaging if stunningly predictable "Endless Love," from the pop music montage courtship sequences to Dad's driving the boy out on a boat to set him straight about what's not going to happen with his daughter.
Greenwood and Richardson make a fine, discordant couple and the young leads have a certain chemistry. If only Feste had realized she'd stripped almost all the conflict out of the story, that you can't flip motivations and turn everybody into "reasonable" people and have anything like an interesting drama left over.
Even the Brooke Shields version got that right.
"Endless Love" (2 stars)
Cast: Alex Pettyer, Gabriella Wilde, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood. Directed by Shana Feste, written by Shana Feste and Joshua Safran, based on the Scott Spencer novel. A Universal release.
Rated: PG-13 for sexuality, nudity.
Showing: Alderwood, Cinebarre, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood, Pacific Place, Thornton Place Stadium, Woodinville, Cascade Mall.
Story tags » Movies

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

Change of focus
Change of focus: Photography gives retired deputy a new purpose
Penalty on the play
Penalty on the play: NFL preseason games are dominated by penalty flags
Lake is just a start
Lake is just a start: Lake Stevens fun spreads out from the shores
Like Astaire and Rogers
Like Astaire and Rogers: A teen ballroom dance duo eye championships in Paris