Warning: this review contains spoilers … you’re welcome.
If a) you are worried that the smoldering intensity of your love affair with a misunderstood stranger could potentially inspire your parents to end their own marriage, b) you have broken into a zoo with your friends and were playfully showered by a welcoming elephant, or c) you find yourself unable to wear anything but blue Converse to signify your endearing, free-spirited lack of social grace-this is the film for you! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, for the bargain price of $13.95, you can sit back in a reasonably comfortable movie chair at Regal Fenway Stadium and spend the next hour and 40 minutes of your life wishing that you’d rented that Nicholas Sparks movie instead.
In case moviegoers haven’t seen enough 20-somethings play high school students, 25-year-old Gabriella Wilde plays the lanky, extremely privileged Jade Butterfield (a name which somehow evokes both nursery rhymes and exotic dancing), continuously described as the social outcast of her high school who could always be found “with her nose in a book” (although no such books ever appear on screen). Opposite Jade is her secret admirer of two years, the coiffed hunk David Elliot (24-year-old Alex Pettyfer), who quickly decides to make it his mission to sweep Jade off her feet after graduation-a stimulating challenge proved possible within the first five minutes of few words and fewer clothes. Their summer romance is complicated not only by Jade’s prestigious, fast-approaching, totally-realistic, straight-out-of-high-school medical internship at Brown University, but also by the over protective tendencies of Jade’s stone-faced father (who disapproves of David after he takes a stuck-up socialite’s car for a spin while valeting at the country club-the scoundrel). Although other unresolved conflicts arise, such as exes, vehicular mishaps, and whatnot, the essential conflict lies in Jade’s father’s stink-eye, which may have stolen the show in all its middle-aged glory.
Although for the most part the film was overrun with flat characters in various Pottery Barn-style mansions, its one attempt at capturing any real emotional struggle was immediately thrown at the audience in the opening monologue of the film: Chris, book-worm Jade’s older brother, passed away of cancer two years earlier. Although Jade is too wrapped up in her own sexual awakening to think much about her deceased sibling, her father remains devastated by Chris’s death. Director Shana Feste could have used the unconquerable grief of losing a child to humanize the antagonist, thus complicating this otherwise-simple story, but the evil Mr. Butterfield is instead only villainized for his attempts at keeping his daughter close (rather than allowing her to frolic about with an aspiring car-mechanic with a dark past). Another missed opportunity for redemption was the subtle sexual tension between Jade’s mother and David (a plot twist that would be most unwelcome in movies less predictable), though by the end of the film it appears that this air of intimacy between the two was, regrettably, accidental.
The script of Endless Love takes a back seat to the favored montages of romantic bliss (a secret caress amid a crowd, a flash of underwear in the forest, a fallen bra strap on the bike handlebars, a see-through white dress paraded through a grassy field, etc.) but one must commend the two lead actors for their one respectable accomplishment, which would remain untraceable unless one Googled them: they are both British, and did a fairly good job of feigning American accents (though it is entirely possible that their vapid facial expressions distracted the audience from noticing any slip-ups).
If you have seen either the trailer for Endless Love or any Lifetime movie, it is all too likely that you have already seen the bulk of this film, and may be better off saving your $13.95 for something more rewarding, such as a new book, or a pizza. In short, this film is nothing more than another middle-school make-out movie financed by Valentine’s Day, and is just as endless as it promises to be.