ENDLESS LOVE (Shana Feste). 103 minutes. Opens Friday (February 14). See listings. Rating: NN
Although technically a step above Franco Zeffirelli's uncomfortably sleazy 1981 adaptation of Scott Spencer's bestselling novel, this modern update isn't any less annoying.
Sheltered little rich girl Jade (Gabriella Wilde) gets to know good natured David (Alex Pettyfer) at the end of high school and begins a summer fling that turns into full-on passionate love. This doesn't sit well with Jade's controlling and over protective father (Bruce Greenwood), who tries to drive a wedge between the lovers by reminding Jade of her potential future as a doctor, leaning heavily on the death of his eldest son years earlier and dredging up a dark secret from David's past.
Director and co-writer Shana Feste starts off admirably enough for the first 30 minutes or so, effectively showing the folly in irrational young love. That's all quickly abandoned in favour of ever more melodramatic contrivances and overwrought speechifying about the power of love. Feste seems to lack the confidence to let the teen romance seem realistic.
The leads are likeable and attractive enough, and the film feels like a music video set to a relentless indie rock soundtrack. So it's certainly flashy enough that less discriminating teens might think it has a modicum of emotion.
For everyone else, there is a still a trio of excellent performances by Greenwood, Robert Patrick (as David's dad, showing how great he can be at playing a nice guy rather than a villain) and Rhys Wakefield as Jade's well-adjusted older brother. They save the film from being a complete bore, but not by much.