endless-love-2014From the very first moment Shana Feste’s Endless Love begins, it becomes apparent we’re going to be in for a cliched, unsubtle romantic drama. We see a brooding Gabriella Wilde, looking solemn as Alex Pettyfer narrates “She’s in a crowded place, but inside she’s lonely”. Okay, I’m paraphrasing somewhat, but you get the picture. Sadly such an approach is unrelenting from there on, and the worst aspect of all is the perturbing title. Endless Love? It feels like it.

Pettyfer plays David, a shrewd electrician who believes in the notion of love – particularly when he falls in love with the introverted, seemingly timorous Jade (Wilde), who spends much of her time alone following the untimely death of her older brother. As the pair start dating, Jade’s forbidding and uncompromising father (Bruce Greenwood) is less than happy about the relationship, as he doesn’t want Jade to be distracted from her fledging medical career. However despite his best efforts, the pair are completely infatuated with one other, and will do whatever they can to ensure that remains the case.

The film is relentlessly mawkish and unashamedly predictable, following a horribly contrived formula that has grown so tired in contemporary cinema. Some of the one-liners are so cliched, that you can barely believe they’re being spoken out loud in a film that isn’t a parody. There are some moments that are genuinely hilarious, when it’s rather clear they’re not supposed to be. The film is all about the celebration of love and how it prevails, and yet it makes a solitary life of celibacy seem rather tempting. You end up hating love, life, and everything happy in between.

The characters are highly undeveloped too, and although this is a character study of these two star-crossed lovers, we know so little about them. Pettyfer is the weak link, even if his “I’m angry” face is consistently amusing. Probably more so than the face he’s pulling reading through this review, anyway. The one redeeming aspect is actually Greenwood, who is not only the finest performer (as Jade’s dad, Hugh) but the way in which he protects his daughter, and fears losing her, is initially well-handled. That said, it eventually plays out as theatrically and immoderately as the rest of the picture, but there is some depth to it at least – which is more than can be said of the relationship the entire film hinges on. To be honest, t’s difficult not to take Hugh’s side in the argument. If my daughter was dating an overtly sentimental, personality-free kid (who looks a lot older than 18 years old) – I wouldn’t want him to stick around for much longer, either. Meanwhile, Dayo Okeniyi provides some light relief as David’s best friend Mace, yet he’s not in the film nearly enough.

The thing is, of course this picture is not aimed at an older, male audience – and you have to consider the fact that a younger crowd may well get on board with the idealistic romanticism on show, and enjoy the melodramatic nature of the production. However that still doesn’t excuse what is an excruciatingly maudlin piece of cinema. The tagline to this title is “Say goodbye to innocence”, but the only thing you’re truly saying goodbye to, is two hours of your precious time.