Charlie St. Cloud is not a great movie in any sense of the word but it might have been a little bit more entertaining if the studio had not shown us just about every plot element in the trailer for the film. This latest trend of tell-all trailers is one of the worst ideas that Hollywood has come up with recently. This Zac Efron starer would still have been a gooey, sentimental mess without it, but at least we wouldn't have known so in advance.
Charlie (Efron), his mother (Kim Basinger) and younger brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) live in the Pacific Northeast in a town on the water. Charlie is a high school senior and plans to go to college on a sailing scholarship. He and his brother are both excellent sailors and win most of the sailing events in their town.
When tragedy strikes his family Charlie withdraws from the world so to speak and takes a job as a caretaker at the local cemetery. He doesn't take the scholarship to college and draws into himself. The only obligation he honors is to play catch with Sam every afternoon just before sunset.
One day he meets Tess Carroll (Amanda Crew) who is a competitive sailor who plans to sail around the world. For once Charlie is intrigued enough with someone to come out of his shell a little. However in a short time Tess too complicates Charlie's world.
Zac Efron is in just about every frame of film in this movie. Most of the shots of him are brooding portraits featuring his intense blue eyes, or his well muscled body. The whole film serves as a scrapbook for his adoring fans.
This is not to say Efron can't act. He gets better with each film, but in this movie the emphasis is more on his looks than on his talent. Plus the character he plays is a young man locked into himself and communicating with ghosts. Yes, Charlie sees dead people, but not as effectively as Haley Joel Osmont or Whoopi Goldberg did.
Crew is a pretty girl who serves her purpose in the film as Charlie's love interest. Aside from her looks she does not make much of an impression. The movie would have been better served if Basinger and Ray Liotta had been given more to do with their roles. As is, they are just cameos by talented performers who could have elevated the movie with their abilities
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.
The supernatural moments in the movie do not have much of an effect and come across as more crazy than spiritual. There should have been a real dramatic impact arising from Charlie's revelations as to his ability to communicate with the dead, but it all just ends up being an "are you kidding" moment.
Zac Efron needs to grow as an actor and to have a good movie in which to show his talent. A glorified magazine spread like Charlie St. Cloud is not what his fans or his admirers want to see.
I scored Charlie St. Cloud a deceased 4 out of 10.
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