Endless Love

Why does Hollywood continue to starve audiences longing for a good romantic tearjerker? Endless Love didn't have to be this godawful. In 1979, Scott Spencer's novel about impediments to the true love between a teen girl and a mental patient, won deserved raves. As Spencer said: "It may be time for serious, literary novelists to take back some of the subject matter we abandoned to hack novelists and the movies." Amen to that, brother. Expectations were high when the great filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli (Romeo and Juliet) took on Spencer's book in 1981 with young stars Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt. But the film was a notorious botch job, best remembered for spawning a title song duet by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Now, more than three decades later, Hollywood again steps up to the plate and sends Spencer's book down in flames. Shana Feste, director of the lame Country Strong, doesn't just serve Spencer's tale of erotic obsession with a spoonful of sugar, she pours on the whole effing bowl. Poor boy David (Alex Pettyfer) falls for rich girl Jade (Gabriella Wilde) and the only craziness belongs to Jade's doctor dad, Hugh (Bruce Greenwood), who is obsessed with making Jade a fill-in for her dead brother. The movie offers prettiness personified in Pettyfer and Wilde (both Brits) as they pose and preen in various states of undress as a substitute for acting. No go. This Endless Love is a photo shoot, not a movie. It'd play better as a slideshow of jpgs. Even nine-year-old girls ought to cry foul on this movie's endless blandness.

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