Actors: Gabrilla Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Bruce Greenwood
Director: Shana Feste
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Color, Widescreen
Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD High Res Audio), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Subtitles: French, Spanish
Dubbed: Spanish, French, English
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016
Run Time: 210 minutes
With very little resemblance to either the book by Scott Spencer or the oddly disturbed 1981 Franco Zeffirelli version, Shana Feste’s Endless Love is terrible and contrived in its own unique ways. Then again, even using the word “unique” to describe the awfulness of this film is an unearned and inaccurate sentiment. Every moment of Endless Love which comes even close to working is merely the shadow of a copy of an imitation of many much better films. This is a film that will only work for ignorant audience members unfamiliar with love or even its representation on film. In other words, this is a movie made for fourteen-year-old girls, destined to give them false impressions about what real love actually looks like. News flash for Feste; love does not resemble a 105-minute commercial. Next time try giving us some semblance of character development and realistic conflicts rather than contrived scenarios involving vapid models standing in as actors.
Clearly cashing in on the endless onslaught of moderately successful Nicholas Sparks adaptations, churned out like a production line each year, Endless Love also has a storyline devastatingly close to one of the best romantic comedies ever made; Say Anything. To say that this film borrows the best elements from The Notebook and Cameron Crowe’s debut feature may lead readers to the incorrect conclusion that there are elements of Endless Love which work, however derivative they may be. This would be a completely false assumption. The only thing that Endless Love does by borrowing from better film is destroy the validity of the narratives. Endless Love lacks any realism, romance, or reasons for recommendation.
The superficial romance at the center of the film begins when rich and beautiful high school recluse Jade (Gabriella Wilde) meets a boy from the other side of the tracks. David (Alex Pettyfer) isn’t necessarily poor, but he works as a valet at the country club that Jade’s pretentious family are members of and has no plans to attend college. He doesn’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career… Wait, no. That’s Lloyd Dobbler. Whatever. David gives some type of speech to Jade’s father about love. The bottom line is that he is happy working as a mechanic in his father’s garage, despite an unrealistically high S.A.T. score to rival the rebellious attitude that attracts Jade to him.
I’ve talked a lot about what the film does wrong (and have plenty more to go in my arsenal of insults), which has left little room for discussion of plot. This is mostly due to the fact that the film lacks any clear conflict beyond the contrived star-crossed lover storyline evolved from David’s meager background and Jade’s controlling father, played by Bruce Greenwood. This terrible plot point drives the film through each contrived melodramatic plot point, whether it is a car crash, fire, or police chase. I could very easily criticize the unrealistically written role of the villainous father, but it is only the actors playing the parents who seem to hold their weight in the performances of the film. Robert Patrick has an easier job playing the overly understanding father of David, contrasting Jade’s unrealistically snob of a parent. The rest of the cast may as well be cutouts for all of the personality that they bring to the roles.
The biggest disaster in the film is the casting of Pettyfer and Wilde, two actors who have built a career around their looks without any need or opportunity to develop any talent. Pettyfer has starred in many ill-received films directed at ignorant young ticket-buyers, from I Am Number Four to Beastly, never making much impression beyond his physique and soulful gazes that seem better suited for a Vanity Fair photo shoot than any cinematic storytelling. Wilde is even worse, having begun her career as a model and never truly brought anything beyond that two-dimensional posing to her acting career. Doing little other than look pretty in this film, it is difficult to understand what she brings to the character of Jade. There is no indication of what David loves about her beyond the make-out sessions and the urgent rush to have sex without the pesky need to get to know each other. Sure, Jade is beautiful, but she also has about as much personality and maturity as a wind-up toy. It is entirely possible that Wilde has some talent hidden somewhere unseen, but as long as she continues to be cast for looks alone, there will never be any pressure for her to develop it.
The Blu-ray release includes an exclusive extended ending, for those of you who enjoy being angered by shitty filmmaking for lengthier periods. There are also a handful of exclusive deleted, extended, and alternate scenes, and a making-of featurette included on both the DVD and Blu-ray disc. The combo pack has the high definition presentation of Blu-ray, standard DVD, and a digital HD Ultraviolet copy.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 1/10
Historical Significance: 2.5/10