Film review: Endless Love is predictable and audience-friendly

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Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde star in a remake of Endless Love. The modern update does little to improve the silly plot. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde star in a remake of Endless Love. The modern update does little to improve the silly plot.

We’ve reached a point in the movie business when we’re so devoid of new and good ideas we’re recycling old and bad ideas. Such is the case with Endless Love, a remake of a 1981 Brooke Shields-starring soapfest that is remembered for making a decent amount of money, for an early appearance by Tom Cruise, and for the No. 1 single featuring Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Everything else about the movie should be forgotten.

Let’s be clear about this Endless Love update. It’s silly, knowingly dumb, and completely outrageous. Characters speak in ways no human being would really speak, people do things no person would do, and events take place that are beyond ridiculous.

At least no one intentionally sets a house on fire as in the 1981 film. And among the things the movie gets right are a teenager’s ability to get sucked into a whirlwind romance and start behaving erratically. It also understands how a 17-year-old can feel strongly about something one minute and change his mind entirely in 30 seconds.

That’s all a longwinded way of saying cut Endless Love a break. David (Alex Pettyfer) and Jade (Gabriella Wilde) are the endless lovers, and everyone else plays his or her part in this over-the-top bordering-on-melodrama silliness. Bruce Greenwood, as Jade’s father, Hugh, and Joely Richardson as her mother, Ann, are way, way better than this material deserves. Give them both credit for sacrificing their pride for this racket. A screenplay this silly needs actors who commit.

See, Jade and David are in love because she has a dead brother she’s still mourning (as is her family), and he’s in the right place at the right time. Jade never had any friends in high school—suuuuuuuure—and for a graduation present her parents throw her a party. David has been rolling his tongue back into his head every time he sees her for nearly four years, and because of dumb luck in the form of a meet-cute, he rescues her party from the clutches of a bunch of olds her parents invited.

There’s a dance party, a power outage, and making out in a closet. And dad’s ire. Jade begins acting irrationally—i.e., not being under father’s control—and he decides to take Jade and the family, including her brother Keith (Rhys Wakefield) and his girlfriend Sabine (Anna Enger), to the lake house.

Little does dad realize this is the age of the iPhone, and soon David has joined the family. It gets sillier from there, but here’s the thing: That doesn’t matter. Anyone willing to plunk down $11 for Endless Love knows exactly what they’re getting into. The audience I saw Endless Love with loved it endlessly, and the critics thought it was stupid.

So it goes. This is one of those instances when it’s best to view a movie on its own terms, especially when it’s good at living up to its end of the bargain. It also plays by the rules it sets. You get what you pay for, but if you end up at the multiplex to see Endless Love, you probably want what you’re buying.

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