ALEX PETTYFER GABRIELLA WILDE BRUCE GREENWOOD JOELY RICHARDSON ROBERT PATRICK RHYS WAKEFIEND
There are some directors that will just never be able to understand the true ebb and flow of film, and I believe Shana Feste is one of those. Her last film, Country Strong, was the laughing stock of Gwyneth Paltrow’s career and one of the most embarrassing films I have ever reviewed. Endless Love isn’t much better, as Feste once again creates a soap opera type atmosphere where she has car crashes, weddings, divorce, house fires and rescues; all the weekly drama of a daytime soap in one film. The casting here, while at first glance seems satisfactory, is actually comprised of actors desperate for work. It’s a shame that newcomer Wilde, who we also saw in the terrible Carrie remake, will be remembered for this.
Following the tragic death of her older brother, Jade Butterfield (Wilde) has remained non-social and an outcast by her own doing throughout the remaining years of high school. Local boy David Elliott (Pettyfer) has wanted to ask Jade on a date since 7th grade, and now with high school out of the way he makes his move. Jade is on a fast track to becoming a doctor like her father (Greenwood), who strongly objects to his innocent daughter being involved with someone like David. The rest of the family, including her mother (Richardson), welcome David as a distracting light from all the sadness surrounding them. Jade will be forced to choose between a career or life with David.
The film doesn’t start off as bad as it ends up, but there is a big, flashing warning sign when Pettyfer’s character, who is supposed to be 18, spouts off a ridiculous monologue about finding everlasting love to the Butterfield family. It’s far too noble and mature compared to the ingredients his character is built on. “Let’s be young and dumb just for tonight,” Jade says to David. The tagline for the film is ‘Say Goodbye to Innocence’ and the audience did gasp a few times at Jade’s decisions. The film so quickly heads south after just a few flirtations with David, and it begins its rapid descent into worst movie territory as it creates endless scenarios that distract rather than bond the plot together.
By the film's conclusion, which doesn’t come quickly enough, its humble family versus the wealthy family, and all kinds of punches are being thrown. Endless Love is like the White House Down of romance films. It honestly made me respect Nicholas Sparks a little more, because as horrid as his work is, at least he can stick to one solid plotline. The performances here are laughable, especially with the dialogue coming out of their mouths. Pettyfer (Magic Mike, I Am Number Four) continues to jump into these failed projects, racking up a filmography of embarrassing titles.
Final Thought – Endless barrage of soap opera equivalent scenes pretending to be a feature film.
By: Dustin Chase