Starring Alex Pettyer, Gabriella Wilde, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood; directed by Shana Feste; 103 minutes; PG-13 for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying; C
Kids, this is not your parents' "Endless Love."
Scott Spencer's novel of a romantic obsession has had its sharp edges rubbed off, its dramatic weight lifted and its focus shifted in this adaptation from the director of "Country Strong."
There's nothing dangerous about this teen love on steroids. There's no showcase sex scene, the selling point of the infamous 1981 Brooke Shields-Franco Zeffirelli adaptation.
Still, even without that tragic Romeo and Juliet edge or the hit theme song by Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross, it does have a stellar cast who keep things real. Alex Pettyfer is David, the car mechanic's son who falls - hard - for the gorgeous Jade, played by Gabriella Wilde. He rescues her ill-planned graduation party, and when he gets off on the wrong foot with her stern surgeon dad (Bruce Greenwood, terrific), David finds a way to make it up to the doctor, fixing up the family's ancient MGB.
Jade's mom (Joely Richardson) is touched. But Dr. Hugh (Greenwood) has his daughter's future planned, and the boy is interfering.
Greenwood and Richardson make a fine, discordant couple and the young leads have a certain chemistry. If only director and co-writer Shana Feste had realized she'd stripped almost all the conflict out of the story, that you can't turn everybody into "reasonable" people and have anything like an interesting drama left over.
Roger Moore, McClatchy Newspapers