As a shameless contraption of ridiculously sad things befalling attractive people, the engorged romantic tragedy Remember Me stands tall between those towering monuments to teen-oriented cinematic misery, Love Story and Twilight: Beginning with a shock of urban violence set on a subway platform in 1991, then moving forward to a balmy New York City summer a decade later, the movie is one part ”Love means never having to say you’re sorry” and one part ? Edward’s warning to Bella: ”If you’re smart, you’ll stay away from me.” As in Love Story, an angry, fancy-class young man named Tyler (Robert Pattinson) falls in love with a fine, plain-class young woman named Ally (Lost‘s Emilie de Ravin) on the campus of a renowned American university, and the couple’s devotion survives an avalanche of crises that would bury lesser soul mates. As in Twilight, Pattinson evokes the fancy-class man using the combined resources of dark glowers, milky gazes, and fabulously mussed-up hair.
Impressively, the star stuck with Remember Me even after his post-Twilight celebrity soared. Unfortunately, the film’s alienated rich kid is perilously close, in intense disgruntlement and plasma-deficient pallor, to that of alienated vampire Edward Cullen. And the overheated woes dreamed up by first-time screenwriter Will Fetters, directed by HBO veteran Allen Coulter, don’t allow the actor room to demonstrate much range as Tyler slouches around on a diet of cigarettes and beer. (He shares a ratty hipster apartment with Tate Ellington as a clownish roommate better suited to cohabitation with the dudes from Knocked Up.)
Tyler and Ally each carry scars from family tragedies in their past. But the script offers no tolerable explanation as to why, for instance, Tyler’s business-mogul father (Pierce Brosnan, sharp in a business suit) is such a cold SOB. Why Tyler’s kid sister (nicely serious young Ruby Jerins) is bullied by the mean girls at her school. Why Ally’s policeman dad (the great Chris Cooper, outwitted) behaves so inconsistently. Or why Remember Me goes where it goes with such staggeringly misplaced self-seriousness — a movie with all the hyperventilating hysteria of a 1960s teen-tragedy pop song and all the disposability, too. D+