Title: Endless Love
So It's a Love That Never Dies? You're thinking of Bram Stoker's Dracula, the story of an undead monster and his unholy obsession with the reincarnation of his dead love. It's actually more romantic than this.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant to the Film: One smoke alarm out of five.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Two teenagers doom themselves to unhappiness by finding their one true love in high school.
Tagline: "Say goodbye to innocence."
Better Tagline: "Finally, a love story for attractive white people."
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Following the untimely death of her older brother, Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) spends high school in isolation with her parents, who fortunately are obscenely wealthy. Upon spying hunky classmate David Eliot (Alex Pettyfer) shortly after graduation, she decides to make up for lost time by fornicating at every opportunity and potentially flushing her medical school future down the toilet. And isn't that what love is all about?
"Critical" Analysis: Unlike the previously discussed RoboCop, I don't remember a hell of a lot about the original, Franco Zeffirelli-helmed Endless Love. There was that goddamn song, the "My Heart Will Go On" of the first Reagan Administration, and it also marked the feature film debut of one Tom Cruise, who introduced scores of impressionable boys and girls to the wonders of the "moose knuckle." To this day, the sight of Maverick's barely contained sack tops the list of reasons why I started drinking in eighth grade.
If there's anything noteworthy about Feste's update of the 1981 version, it's how appallingly bland it is. Zeffirelli's version aside, there's hardly anything here besides the characters (who've all been aged up out of uncomfortable pubescent territory) to recall Scott Spencer's novel, which wasn't exactly a feel-good romance. Almost anything that might be deemed a threat to that lucrative Valentine's Day market has been whitewashed to the point the film is undistinguishable from any other soft-focus tearjerker.
David, the surprisingly...mature high school graduate (Pettyfer is 23, but would have any opposing team's coach screaming to see birth certificates), has few aspirations beyond working in his father's auto repair shop. Meaning as far as Jade's father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) is concerned, he's from the Wrong Side of the Tracks. He also has a Mysterious Past, but Jade sees through this to his Heart of Gold, and so sticks by him even as Hugh threatens to tear their love asunder.
Looking back on it, the lack of any sinister overtones (aside from Hugh goading David into punching him by talking shit about his Working Class Hero father) brought to mind two "films" that resemble the Endless Love remake more than the original.
The first is The Notebook. Okay, so it's more like a "reimagining," but all the key elements are there: Wrong Side of the Tracks! Love across
generations a few semesters! Chiseled torsos in the rain! It's even set in the South, though obviously not Notebook-era South because David has black friends who aren't servants.
The second is even more obvious, but I'll give you some hints anyway: hunky auto mechanic? Sheltered rich girl? "Hey little girl is your daddy home?" That's right, Endless Love is basically the feature-length version of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" video.
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Only instead of just dropping the keys in her mailbox, he drops the keys in her mailbox, if you know what I'm saying.
All kidding aside, what Endless Love ultimately resembles most is a CW show. That sort of thing tends to happen when your movie is co-written by Joshua Safran, former executive producer of Gossip Girl. It's mostly dull and predictable and supports the always sensible proposition that you should absolutely stick with your high school sweetheart no matter what. Take your daughters!
Endless Love is in theaters today. Why not celebrate by drunk-dialing your high school sweetheart?