'Endless Love' 
Since two remakes (‘RoboCop’ and ‘About Last Night’) weren’t enough from Hollywood this week, we’re also treated to a rehash of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 multi-Razzie Award nominee ‘Endless Love’. The good news is that this one is more suited to the remake treatment given that the original film, which was built primarily around Zeffirelli’s creepy leering at a teenage Brooke Shields and a truly awful Lionel Ritchie tie-in single, left plenty of room for improvement. The bad news is that ‘Country Strong’ director Shana Feste has managed to make an even worse excuse for a romance than the old crapfest.
Feste’s film is very much the Nicholas Sparks take on ‘Endless Love’, set in a world where frank sexuality is replaced by shirtless chastity and everyone speaks like they live in a Hallmark card.
The plot opens with horrendous clichés and then keeps piling on more until the end credits roll. The characters are so indistinct that they don’t even really deserve names, so I won’t bother. She (Gabriella Wilde) is a rich girl who sulked her way through high school following her brother’s death, but is now on track for a promising pre-med degree. He (Alex Pettyfer) is a poor boy with a checkered past and a heart of gold who spent his entire high school career dreaming of breaking her out of her shell. On graduation day, he finally works up the nerve to say something, and sparks fly almost instantly.
Before you know it, the lovers express their bliss through the cinematic magic of frolicking montages. Then her father (Bruce Greenwood) finds out, and Daddy is so overprotective that he immediately casts doubts on the perfect young love affair. Thankfully, those crazy kids just love each other too much for that! In retaliation, Daddy stages some events to make Boy Wonder look like a monster. The next thing you know, the kids have broken up. But there’s no way a love so pure could be separated forever, right?
‘Endless Love’ feels like it was written by a 12-year-old girl imagining what first love would feel like based on Disney princess movies, Barbie dolls and ‘Twilight’. Not a single character in the film sounds like an actual human being, and the entire high school graduating class are clearly in their 20s with the constant 5 o’clock shadows and plastic surgery scars to prove it. It’s a nauseating soap opera filtered through Tampex commercial cinematography until Greenwood shows up, at which point he starts huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf in an evil father role written with the subtlety a silent movie villain.
From top to bottom, the flick is a cornball and empty exercise in audience manipulation. Sure, some undemanding audiences may weep along with this garbage, but is it too much to ask for a little realism – or at least something approximating actual romance – in a movie like this once in a while? There should be a new rule in Hollywood that if Fabio wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a romantic screenplay, then it should get dumped right in the trash. I say this for the sake of the children. They deserve better love stories than this. Even the original ‘Endless Love’ was more tolerable, and I can’t even believe that’s possible.