by Hope Madden
Thirty three years ago (what?), Brooke Shields played a 15-year-old in love. Like everything else the wee lass made during her formative years, there was a lot of sex involved. In this case, it was all filmed with cheese cloths and the mistaken idea that teenage love is unchanging and everlasting, and that kids are not idiots. Which they most certainly are. It was melodramatic and tawdry in the most ludicrous way, but it wasn’t Blue Lagoon, so in a way, we were lucky. Except for that song, which would not die.
But fast forward a full third of a century and teens today are blessedly unaware of Ms. Shields’s canon. And what generation doesn’t need its own pandering, shallow, weakly scripted and poorly acted version of Romeo & Juliet?
The reboot is the third strike for writer/director Shana Feste (The Greatest, Country Strong). She’s pulled the most hyperbolic pulp out of Scott Spencer’s novel, settling for a tone that’s a little less soap opera, a little more CW drama.
Innocent young Jade Butterfield (Gabrielle Wilde in the Brooke Shields role) waits until high school graduation to finally pull her delicate nose out of her homework and notice hot valet/classmate David, who looks for all the world like a 25-year-old man (25-year-old Alex Pettyfer – pretty, yet bereft of any natural acting talent).
They swoon. Oh, isn’t young love swoon-worthy? Jade’s mom (Joely Richardson) thinks so, in a borderline creepy way. No! She’s just supportive. Just really, weirdly supportive of the highly sexual relationship her teen is having in her house.
And who wouldn’t be? Who would seek to crush such obvious, deep, abiding and eternal – endless, even – love? Well, Jade’s douchebag of a dad, that’s who. And lest you believe this is just a naturally protective father trying to shield his daughter from any STDs or unwanted pregnancies that would derail her pre-med undergrad at Brown, that is not solely the case. He’s also a controlling asshole. Gawd!
If it were only the indulgent teen fantasy element that offended, the film would be almost tolerable. Unfortunately, Pettyfer has lines. Plus, he’s asked to perform with other actors, which means reactions, gestures, expression – how exactly was he supposed to have picked those skills up in his previous employment as an Urban Outfitter mannequin?
Next to him, Wilde looks borderline competent. Which she may be. At a certain point my eyes began rolling uncontrollably.
Valentine’s Day or not, Endless Love will cause you to lose the will to live. Keep yourself safe, and more importantly, keep the world safe from an onslaught of Brooke Shields remakes. Just stay home.