“Endless Love,” starring Alex Pettyfer as David Elliot and Gabriella Wilde as Jade Butterfield, is a teen love story that reads on screen much like an Abercrombie commercial on steroids. This CW style reinterpretation of the original 1981 film, adapted from Scott Spencer’s novel, seems less tame than the original yet no less engaging for the teen audiences the film is best suited for.
The film is directed by Shana Feste and is a mix of “Romeo and Juliet” meets “Footloose” but with significantly less lethal and less choreographed elements. A young guy from the wrong side of the tracks falls for the daughter of a well-to-do doctor, who will stop at almost nothing to end their love affair. The villainous dad, Hugh Butterfield, is played seamlessly by Bruce Greenwood while Pettyfer and Wilde convincingly sizzle on screen. The plot is nothing audiences haven’t seen before but a swoon-worthy subject matter for the teenage girls it targets.
Robert Patrick sheds his “Terminator” bad guy image and shows up as Harry Elliot, Pettyfer’s working class dad with an unwavering moral compass. That moral compass is distorted, though, by his sense of romance. Harry supports his son’s urge to break a restraining order in the name if love. While David and Gabriella muddle through their tumultuous and frenzied romance, Harry and Bruce work as foils in a juxtaposed setting which displays varying degrees of fatherly love and the results of how each operates in trying to guide his child.
Joely Richardson as Jade’s mom, Anne Butterfield, is a calming voice of reason and steady proponent of love as she roots along with the audience for her daughters shot at loves. The stunted and turbulent relationship between Anne and Hugh is another opposing look at love that becomes corrupted and degrades over time. David makes a rousing call in defense of love and it’s worthiness to be fought for while Hugh’s cynical outlook looks to disrupt and shatter the idealism of such lofty concepts.
The rest of the cast ranges from mediocre to forgettable. Dayo Okeniyi (from “Hunger Games” and the TV show “Bones” fame) steps in as David’s best friend and valet buddy, Mace. Emma Rigby, another British transplant along with Pettyfer and Wilde, plays the jealous, meddling ex-girlfriend, Jenny. Rigby is convincing in her repellent, doormat role but besides making a vindictive phone call and throwing herself at David, she does not make an interesting enough baddie.
As timeless love stories go, it is dubious “Endless Love” will stand the test of time. It does serve its purpose as teen eye candy. Two gorgeous lovers fighting for love throughout this predictable, teen angst melodrama will likely have a strong box office draw on Valentine’s Day.