Any film that involves me staring at a distraught but still uber-hot Zac Efron for nearly two whole hours is already guaranteed four stars in my book. Yes, the story felt a bit forced at times and the constant panning of the camera had my motion sickness almost ready to blow, but the twist in Charlie St. Cloud still threw me for a loop. And did I mention the film was full of pretty?
Zac Efron plays the title character, Charlie, a young man emotionally and spiritually shaken after the car accident that took the life of his younger brother, Sam. While dealing with the whole moving-on process, Charlie is reintroduced to Tess, a former classmate and the two form a..ahem…special bond. I honestly didn’t know the female character’s name until halfway through the movie, either I wasn’t listening hard enough or just marveling in the much improved acting of Zac Efron. Efron is crying uncontrollably for a good chunk of this movie. While I find his sincerity impressive and his anguished face adorable, it definitely took away from the time that he could have been shirtless, which I am depressed to say is only about five minutes of the film.
As much as I want to know if I was the only idiot who didn’t see where the story was going, I will do my best to refrain from spilling the “WTF?!” moment in the movie. From the previews, it’s made clear that Charlie can “see” his deceased brother and plays baseball with him every night at sunset. That’s all well and dandy, but when the plot twist presented itself, I for one suffered a major brain explosion. Maybe I was too caught up in the eye-candy that is Zac Efron to see the whole Sixth Sense thing taking shape, but I was definitely thrown for a loop.
To prove that I can be objective, there were moments when I found myself saying “Okay…” in my head in that slow sarcastic way that draws out the last syllable as long as needed to make a point. I found Charlie’s renewed faith just too planned. I could feel the moral of the story being forced down my throat ever so slightly. This film also requires a minor suspension of disbelief that in this seemingly normal town, a guy can see / talk / have sex with dead people…in a non-necrophilia way.
I wouldn’t pay to see this again, but I can’t say that I regret my $9.25 spent on the film. Charlie St. Cloud is admittedly a bit bland and a tad too coincidental at times, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. If anything, it’s an excuse to stare at pretty people in a pretty location for 100ish minutes. Oh and Zac Efron is in it, in case you didn’t know.