He (Alex Pettyfer) is a square-jawed car mechanic who’s not going to college, she (Gabriella Wilde) is a lithe blond goddess following her surgeon daddy to medical school. Thwarted romance looms in this remake of the 1981 Brooke Shields film with the traumatic Lionel Richie–Diana Ross theme tune. The intended result is an American teen love story for a tween audience, with sexuality and drug use implied more than shown, though maybe the movie’s also banking on a demographic too young to spot the industrial-strength clichés throughout.
Pettyfer and Wilde (both Brits) look the part in a soft-drinks-commercial way, but their characters might as well be called Ken and Barbie for all the depth they bring to this wish-fulfilment fantasy of social mobility. The desire of the young folk to live their own lives and their parents’ determination to stop them doing so provide a genuine basis for dramatic conflict, but the script is so howlingly awful that adult viewers will face a tough choice between writhing in pain or laughing out loud. Come back, Lionel and Diana—all is forgiven.