Endless Love

14-year-old girls will love Endless Love. Maybe some of their moms will like it, too. Guys may appreciate it because of its potential to put their ladies in a romantic mood. But Endless Love is not a good movie.

David (Alex Pettyfer) and Jade (Gabriella Wilde) exchange glances at their high school graduation. Throughout 4 years of school, he’s never spoken to her! Coincidence of coincidences: David valet parks Jade’s family’s car when they go out to dinner that day. He takes her for a joyride in another guy’s cool car. Voila! Instant attraction!

Jade has a graduation party. David is there. They flirt. They kiss. They fall in love.

In short order, they consummate in front of a roaring fire. (The movie is set in Atlanta where it is hot right after graduation. Not exactly the best time to build a fire in the fireplace.) From that night on, they can’t get enough of each other.

The movie shifts its focus a bit to Jade’s father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood). His efforts to protect his daughter are not due merely to his knowing what teenage boys like to do to teenage girls. The death of Jade’s older brother two years earlier has caused her dad major grief and Jade is now the family’s shining star. Jade’s mother Anne (Joely Richardson) supports her daughter’s romance and has a bit of a mom-crush on David herself.

When Jade turns down her summer internship to stay home and party with David, the lovers have fun but dad is not happy. There’s a good bit of Hallmark Channel level melodrama that leads up to the film’s climax. Spoiler alert: Unlike Shakespeare’s precocious lovers Romeo and Juliet, neither David nor Jade die at the end.

Endless Love may click with teens because its sexual content is mild. The language is tame. Even when the kids get stoned, we don’t see them smoking onscreen. The rating is PG-13. (The 1981 Endless Love starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt was rated R.)

Endless Love caters to those who are in love with the idea of being in love. The two stars, Pettyfer (age 23) and Wilde (age 24), are attractive but their acting chops need to be honed a bit. You can send your teenage daughter to see Endless Love, but if you are over 17, you should view at your own risk.


“Flight” features another outstanding performance from Denzel Washington. His character is a complex man with a big problem that leads to an even bigger problem.

Washington plays “Whip” Whittaker, a commercial airline pilot. On a short hop from Orlando to Atlanta, his plane has mechanical trouble. He uses his skill as a pilot to crash land the plane with minimal loss of life and is hailed as a hero.

When the NTSB investigates the crash, evidence shows that he was flying the plane drunk and high on coke. His alcoholism, which has led the to end of his marriage and his estrangement from his teenaged son, is a demon he tries to defeat. After he comes to the rescue of a recovering junkie and she becomes his live-in gal pal, she takes him with her to AA. He walks out of the meeting.

The two questions to be resolved: Will he be prosecuted for flying drunk? And will he be able to stay on the wagon for more than a few days at a time?

The supporting cast is a good one. Bruce Greenwood is the pilot’s union leader who offers solid support after the crash. Don Cheadle plays the pilot’s union attorney who works to get Whip’s evidence suppressed. John Goodman plays Whip’s longtime buddy and booze/drug connection. A woman who looks like she could be Diane Keaton’s daughter, Kelly Reilly, is the ex-junkie girlfriend. Melissa Leo is the NTSB administrator who conducts the climactic hearing.

The film gives us just enough of Whip’s personal struggle without bogging down the plot. Director Robert Zemeckis combines the storytelling and the character study nicely. Zemeckis, who has delivered memorable images in previous hits, also brings to “Flight” a plane crash that looks amazingly real.

It’s my opinion that any movie starring Denzel Washington is worth seeing. This may not be his best movie ever (nor is it the best ever from Zemeckis), but it’s darn good—a solid effort from all concerned. I like it.

Trouble with the Curve

“Trouble with The Curve” is the ANTI-“Moneyball.” TWTC slams the stats-happy computer geek baseball personnel people and gives a nod to the old school cigar-chomping scouts.

The heart of this movie is the relationship between Gus, played by Clint Eastwood, and his daughter Mickey, played by Amy Adams. Despite all that has caused their estrangement, the glue that holds them together is baseball.

Once the basic plot is set up, you can pretty much guess how it will conclude. But getting there is a fun trip, with a surprise or two along the way.

Gus, a veteran scout for the Braves, is sent to the Carolinas to check out a high school phenom. But Gus is having vision problems and, stubborn old geezer that he is, he won’t see a specialist to have the situation addressed. A Braves team exec, played by John Goodman, asks Mickey to go to the Carolinas and make sure her dad is okay. She is a rising star Atlanta attorney who is about to make partner if she can pull off a certain deal.

Among the old scouts is a young Red Sox scout, Johnny, a washed-out pitcher, played by Justin Timberlake. He, like Gus, is there to see the phenom, but he also has his eyes on Mickey. She’s standoffish, so their relationship moves slowly but predictably.

Eastwood’s character is not far removed from the codger he played in “Gran Torino” a few years back. In TWTC, he also drives a classic Ford, a 60’s Mustang. The Mustang gets banged up when Gus has trouble with the curve on a highway and pulls in front of a vehicle he didn’t see coming.

As with last year’s “Moneyball,” you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this movie. TWTC is a movie that will, I think, appeal equally to men and women. Yes, it’s a movie about baseball. But it’s more about relationships.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

It was better than I was expecting. (And much funnier than the book!)

Like most ensemble romantic comedy movies with large casts of interacting characters, WTEWYE is predictable. How predictable? Five seconds into the movie, you know exactly how the first scene will end.

WTEWYE does have more laugh out loud funny moments than the Garry Marshall ensemble movies, such as “Valentine’s Day.” Here we have five Atlanta area couples dealing with fertility issues, planned pregnancies, surprise pregnancies and adoption. Of course, there is also a fair amount of poignancy with the pregnancy.

Interestingly, the only mother-to-be in the film who has given birth in real life is Jennifer Lopez, whose character is infertile. She and her husband adopt a child from Ethiopia. The pregnant women are Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick and Brooklyn Decker. Elizabeth Banks is the funniest of the five.

A good bit of the WTEWYE’s humor comes from a group of dads who get together to push their offspring in strollers. Thomas Lennon of “Reno 911” fame and Chris Rock are part of that group.

For men and women who are new parents (and for many of us whose youngest offspring are now teens), the film will bring back memories of pregnancies, some of which you may have forgotten. Along with the pregnancies, we follow the development of romantic relationships between the couples to predictable outcomes.

Maybe the most impressive aspect of WTEWYE is how realistic the prosthetic tummies appeared on the film’s moms.

WTEWYE is a pleasant enough amusement. But if you are newly pregnant, don’t count on the movie to be instructive. Buy the book.