Endless Love

By Casey Tourangeau

Mailed on February 17, 2014

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Dear Shane Garner
Set Decoration/On-Set Dresser

Dear Shane,

Modern filmmaking economics being what they are, I wouldn't be surprised if, when you were tasked with dressing the sets of Endless Love and finding all those pieces of furniture and tchotchkes and knickknacks that appear slightly out of focus behind the main characters, you simplified things by sourcing from as few suppliers as possible. The unfortunate effect of such an approach is that every endless scene of Endless Love looks like it's taking place in the pages of a catalogue.

Though I suppose the strategy works since the rest of film rings just as false.

For a modern adaptation of a 1970s best-seller, it's odd that the modernization process seems to have stalled somewhere in the 1990s -- the mid-90s to be precise. And who are our American Eagle Outfitters models? There's Alex Pettyfer as David, an 18-going-on-32 high-schooler not quite able to conceal his British accent. He has long fostered a crush on Gabriella Wilde's Jade Butterfield, even though she's only known to her classmates as a wealthy recluse; her family has closed in on itself since the death of its eldest son.

After what passes in this catalogue world for a meet-cute (Jade drops a book), David pursues Jade. Of course this causes tensions with her controlling father, Bruce Greenwood, who manages to give his stock character moral shadings that aren't present in the sets or the script. Naturally, David comes from a working-class family (we know this because his father owns a garage -- the cleanest, best-arranged garage ever), but the film goes out of its way to make sure we know that he's not that working-class (his SAT scores are above 2900, which, as an ignorant Canadian, I can only assume is impressive). This, as well as his affinity for setting each rendez-vous in a libraries or bookstore (actual line: "I forgot how much I love to read!"), lets us know it's okay to root for him.

Jade dose succumb to David's charms, mostly because he salvages a botched party at her stately manor (J. Crew, Spring Collection 1996). It's a party that involves a competition in which a bunch of cool teenagers dance to such current mainstream hits as Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It".

(I mentioned that this movie supposedly takes place in 2014, right?)

Anyway, with the relationship heating up and Jade questioning the future planned out by her father, Papa Butterfield takes the family to their lake house (Restoration Hardware, Summer Nights 1994). When David arrives, tensions rise, secrets are revealed, and plot devices that manage to be both predictable and lazily executed occur--including the most conveniently-timed car accident one could possibly hope for.

Will these two crazy lovers make it? Will obsessive parents and ex-girlfriends succeed in driving them apart? Will David spend his days working in his father's garage (Fossil Vintage Wear _1995)? _Endless Love works its way through all these questions with all the boldness and panache of painting a room taupe: sure, it's tasteful and makes everything work, but it's bland and safe and boring as hell.



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