Directed by Shana Feste
Starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde
Is there anything more overdone than a wealthy, overachieving, pretty girl falling for the charming boy from the wrong side of the tracks? Endless Love follows Ivy-League-bound Jade’s predictable escape from the grips of her overprotective father and into the arms of bad boy David the summer after she graduates from high school.
Both protagonists are shallow characters. They have the archetypal broken pasts; Jade’s brother passed away from an unspecified cancer two years ago, resulting in her father’s overbearing nature, and David has a record of delinquency. At every turn, Jade’s father acts selfishly and unreasonably, flattening his character into nothing but the stereotypical Father who thinks he knows best.
Even the romance is underdeveloped. One moment David and Jade are just people who see each other at school, and the next he’s winning her heart by convincing people to come to her graduation party, and a few minutes of screen time later, they’re in love. As you can probably guess, their whirlwind romance helps Jade loosen up and David focus his sights on previously unthinkable goals. The conflict in their story comes from Jade’s father’s continual objection to her spending time with David and the occasional intervention of David’s jealous ex-fling.
This type of story, while tired, can be entertaining. When John Hughes did it in the classic 1980s teen movie Say Anything, it was witty and fun, because the characters were developed past the shells of their stereotypes and frequently engaged in intelligent dialogue. It’s hard to determine if Endless Love even attempted to layer cleverness into the cliché. The pacing was lightning fast, and the format was a summer love montage broken by the occasional, easily foreseeable plot “twists.” I quite literally rolled my eyes at the dialogue on at least four separate occasions. I kid you not, there was a dramatic pause and close up of David and Jade’s faces before the words “say something” fell from the female protagonist’s lips.
When it comes down to it, the movie was marketed as a Valentine’s Day film, and it functions as just that. With a pleasing soundtrack of pop-indie songs and a cutesy plot line that requires next to no attention, Endless Love is the perfect movie to go to with a date if you plan to sit in the back of the theater and not do much watching. Otherwise, I’d say skip it.