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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.