Buckle up ready for your Valentine’s Day treat – Endless Love is the archetypal romantic drama spun out at this time of year for consumption by naïve teens. A rework of the 80s film of the same name, this offering, starring teen favourite Alex Pettyfer as David and the astonishingly aristocratic Gabriella Wilde as Jade, is desperately cheesy with a good dollop of cringe. It’s the classic story of girl meets boy, girl sacrifices her future to enjoy a summer romance with said boy. Only Jade’s father Hugh (psychotically played by Bruce Greenwood) stands in their way.
What is significant about this is that most of the audience seem to side with dad. Jade is a fool for wanting to throw away her hard-won internship for a romance – heck, if he liked her that much he could wait or even relocate for a few weeks, surely? What emerges is insincere, not helped by awkward acting from Joely Richardson as mother Anne, and not very believable. David spouts vomit-inducing clichés that have the audience groaning in their seats; his declarations of love result in Anne admitting “he has awoken a desire in me” or some such. Really.
This film seems to be promoting an odd paradox that is peculiarly American – the high drama of Disney-esque courtly love alongside a strange frigidity enforced by a cripplingly overbearing father. It is everything wrong with modern perceptions of teenage romance, and never goes quite deep enough to explore more realistic nuances of infatuation, loss and potential.
While in the most part staid and stilted, most of the laughs come from David’s best friend Mace (Dayo Okeniyi) and there is a gentle and surprisingly emotional performance by Robert Patrick as David’s dad Harry. There are less dramatic family ties at work here, and an attempt at approaching many human dilemmas, including death and abandonment, which do help to bolster an otherwise well-known storyline.
Endless Love has it all: sex, violence, fire, and still manages to remain squeaky clean; this is quite a feat in modern cinema. It is hugely enjoyable for the cringe factor with friends but not for its quality. See it this Valentine’s Day, but be sure to take a sick bag.
Endless Love is released nationwide on 14th February 2014.
Watch the trailer for Endless Love here: