Unabashed Chick Flick bait. Endless Love features a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and the unattainable rich girl who hungers for passion before she needs to take an internship that will guide her to success in life. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde are the attractive and charismatic young couple. Take them out of the equation, replace them with average-looking people, and you wouldn’t have much of a movie. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy looking at them fall for each other, and embrace. If you don’t mind major story flaws, and you don’t pick at them one after another, then this is a decent cuddle date movie. However…
This movie contains one of those overprotective dads (Bruce Greenwood, really stooping this time) who wants the best for his daughter’s future. Somebody should have schooled this Dad in how to pick your battles, because the fuss he causes too early on only loses his credibility. This Dad is a lunatic throughout, and he is the catalyst for violence and unrest, and family fall-out. He also has a mistress whom he smooches with in the shed of the lake house, but the mistress is seen only for that one time. But it gives an excuse for the poor boy hero to fault his adversary.
I was smiling at how corny the movie was, in an aw-shucks sort of way. I’m a sucker for attractive people getting it on. Can you believe that poor boy David Elliot (Pettyfer) was too shy to talk to Jade Butterfield (Wilde) throughout high school because he was afraid of being turned down? Pettyfer, let me remind you, was the hunky stripper with great abs in “Magic Mike.” This guy could get lots of girls, and yet in this formula, he is initially down on himself!
I liked how he courteously attended Jade’s party, called over some cool kids, got Jade to participate in a dance-off with him, snuck her into a closet, (fill in some blanks here), and had the most romantic sex together. What I didn’t believe is that the rest of the movie they never are implied to have sex again. 18-year olds having sex for the first time are usually much more lustful (in real life) and have tons of sex after the first time. Especially when the first time is so satisfying to each partner.
Let me tell you how I feel about Jade. She is played by the ethereal blonde Wilde, who has princess-y braids and tender lips that quiver, and is genuinely beautiful and sweet (her character is also one of those over-sheltered and untouchable beauties, yearning to blossom). I have always wanted more movies about stunningly beautiful girls, but movies that truly get to the bottom of how beautiful and privileged girls really live and what they really do socially. I got some of that in “Endless Love,” but by the second half, we lose any insight into this girl’s life.
The second half is mostly angry Dad stuff. And temporarily, Dad convinces Jade that this boy is no good for her. Jade also says to David at one point, out of bitterness, “You’re a coward. You don’t fight for love. You’re afraid of it.” Let me give all you beautiful Jade’s out there in the real world some advice. Don’t ever call a boyfriend a “coward,” it’s the worst thing you can say to a guy. Especially because it’s unfair of David, who is anything but a coward as an indication of how he perseveres on her behalf. It’s also a premature thing to say, since he has time to prove how not a coward he is. He runs into a burning house at the end, for God’s sake.
Despite all the flaws, I still enjoyed looking at this couple. I enjoyed watching them kiss. I enjoyed watching them get in water hose fights. It’s a cuddle date movie. I didn’t have anybody to cuddle with while I watched it, but I found my wife after I came home. If you’re not at the stage in your life where you embrace corniness, then “Endless Love” is not for you.
103 Minutes. Rated PG-13.
ROMANTIC TEARJERKER / LATE TEENS / WEEKEND CUDDLE MOVIE
Film Cousins: “Endless Love” (1981); “Some Kind of Wonderful” (1987); “Say Anything” (1989); “Mad Love” (1995).