Star Rating:

Endless Love

Director: Shana Feste

Actors: Gabriella Wilde, Alex Pettyfer

Release Date: Monday 30th November -0001

Genre(s): Drama

Running time: 103 minutes

Romance porn just doesn't cut it. No, this is under-the-counter, seedy raincoat romance porn, a Nicholas Sparks meets Cameron Crowe lovey-dovey syrupy goo of a movie (in fact the plot lifts wholesale from Crowe's Say Anything, and a little from Stand By Me). Despite the lack of originality, Endless Love steers a steady ship through the syrupy gooiness until it descends into all kinds of silliness in the last ten minutes.

Sensitive blue collar type Alex Pettyfer has had a crush on beautiful, rich blonde type Garbiella Wilde all through high school but it's only when they graduate that the wooing shows results. Doctor dad Bruce Greenwood doesn’t approve of this mechanic's son hanging around his daughter all summer and urges Gabriella to take an internship ahead of her pre-Med college course (there’s the Say Anything lift). Meanwhile, Gabriella's (twin?) brother Rhys Wakefield and Greenwood clash as Rhys struggles to live up to his recently deceased older brother (and there’s Stand By Me - both are John Cusack movies, coincidently).

Through the audience's groans and, yes, laughter, Endless Love admirably sticks to its Pure First Love guns with every scene a trailer-ready declaration of love. It asks a lot, like feeling sorry for rich, beautiful people with bright futures; Jade's world is of lakeside holiday homes, speedboats, paper aeroplanes carrying love notes, and happily standing in the rain. In any other teen movie Jade Butterfield is the spiteful cheerleader. And 'Jade Butterfield'? What is she, a new Barbie line?

But Wilde is likeable, Pettyfer does what he’s asked to do (be handsome and open-shirted) and Greenwood manages to walk a steady line between the ogre and the genuinely worried dad. The expansion of the story into his marriage with Joely Richardson, juxtaposing their crumbling marriage and this young blossoming love, is welcome. The soundtrack isn't bad with Lionel Richie, thankfully, staying at home.

Then, however, comes that final ten minutes where director Shana Feste (Country Strong) and her co-writer Joshua Safran (Gossip Girl) ensure they tick as many boxes as possible. It turns into Dawson Creek. Then Disney. Then Beverly Hills 90210 (the new one).