Review: ‘Endless Love’ is more Nicholas Sparks than the original

Lucky for you, the pickup-based love between Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer in "Endless Love" does in fact end. Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert
Lucky for you, the pickup-based love between Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer in “Endless Love” does in fact end.
Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert

‘Endless Love’
Director: Shana Feste
Stars: Gabriella Wilde, Alex Pettyfer
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

When filmmaker John Waters, usually a champion of all things campy and trashy, refers to a film as “awful” and “excrutiating,” you know it has problems.

That’s what he once said about “Endless Love,” the 1981 adaptation of Scott Spencer’s 1979 novel, one of his favorite books. If you’ve seen the notorious film, you’ll understand what made Waters’ jaws so tight. Director Franco Zeffirelli — who already tackled doomed young love when he adapted “Romeo and Juliet” in 1968 — took Spencer’s tale of intense sexual obsession and made it ridiculous and histrionic, with the hopelessly wooden Martin Hewitt as the unhinged youth whose undying love for a girl (Brooke Shields) brought destruction to her whole family. Of course, even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve heard the Oscar-nominated, Lionel Richie-Diana Ross duet that served as the movie’s theme song your whole life. 

The new adaptation of “Love” doesn’t even have a new theme song, nor does it seem to bear any resemblance to Spencer’s novel or Zeffirelli’s original film. Despite leaving in a few familiar moments (there is still a love scene by a fireplace), director Shana Feste (“Country Strong”) goes for a revamping. Alex Pettyfer and Jaime King lookalike Gabriella Wilde play the main teen lovebirds, who, unlike the original lovebirds, fall in love AFTER they graduate high school. And instead of David coming from an affluent family and Jade being the product of a bohemian household, this has Jade as the introverted daughter of rich parents (Bruce Greenwood and Joely Richardson), while David is the son of a single, grease monkey dad (Robert Patrick).

Fortunately, this version of “Love” does stick to the original story’s central conflict, as Jade’s dad comes in between their love. Irrational to the point of being downright sociopathic, Jade’s father is the one who goes off the rails, not David. Despite having a checkered past with the law, the movie makes Pettyfer’s David out to be too earnest, too polite and too swoony to become a lovesick stalker.

Safe and predictable, there is nothing remotely surprising (and, therefore, interesting) about this rudimentary remake. The movie is so simple and sappy in its plotting that it seems more suited for the Hallmark Channel than the big screen. It also doesn’t take much to see that it’s sampling more from the work of Nicholas Sparks than Spencer’s book. Since there isn’t a movie adaptation of a Sparks novel coming out this February, as it seems to be the case every year, this movie jumps on this opportunity and envisions how Sparks would’ve handled “Love” if he wrote it.

This “Endless Love” may not be as much of a disaster as the virtually unwatchable original. But, just like that movie, it still doesn’t do right by the damn book.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.