CHARLIE ST CLOUD - Efron's The Lure
CHARLIE ST CLOUD (romance drama)
Cast: Zac Efron, Amanda Crew, Donal Logue, Charlie Tahan, Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta
Director: Burr Steers
Script: Craig Pearce and Lewis Colick, based on The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
Time: 105 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: The following cannot be a spoiler since it has been revealed in the trailer: Zac Efron stars as Charlie St Cloud, a guy who can see dead people. Based on Ben Sherwood's book, The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud, let me also reveal that Charlie and his younger brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) are killed in a horrific road accident but the former is revived and brought back to life by a paramedic (played by Ray Liotta) who believes that the boy will fulfil some important purpose later on.
Now, I am not going to reveal what that purpose is - not just because that would be a spoiler but because nobody among Efron's fan base give a hoot about it. All his female fans care about is the obvious and true purpose of Efron's presence in this movie: Is he gonna take off his shirt?
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The answer to the above question is 'yes'! And for those who care to know more, Efron's Charlie is a high school sailing star whose bright future is wrecked by a road accident that takes the life of kid brother Sam. Not one to let go, Charlie mopes around working at the cemetery and 'meeting' up with 'Sam' daily so that they can practice baseball. It's a promise he had made, you see. Now, this sort of thing would render one certifiable (and thrown into the looney bin) but not in this fanciful tale directed by Burr Steers.
HITS & MISSES: If, after reading the above, you smell the stench of The Sixth Sense, you are on the right track. However, unlike that M. Night Shyamalan hit, nothing happens to scare us or even to raise our goose pimples. All we get is a sense of disbelief in the New England world created here and how contrived the plot is. Of course, all this while, Efron's Charlie is shot in a series of 'chick magnet' poses, especially in his budding romance with sailor girl Tess (Amanda Crew, pictured) who threatens to upset his routine baseball practice with Sam.
Steers (who has also directed Efron in 17 Again) makes good use of Efron's charms as lure for the female crowd but I am quite surprised he has not put Amanda Crew through such 'exploitation' to work the same 'magic' on the male crowd. She basically gets to keep her clothes on - and her charms in PG-13 territory. To make matters worse, there is no chemistry between the two. The secondary cast are forgettable: Kim Basinger plays Charlie's mom who is out of the picture after the accident; and Ray Liotta proves more distracting than effective as the town's paramedic.
THE LOWDOWN: They may have collaborated in the comedy 17 Again but Steers and Efron seems to be out of their league in this emotionally demanding film.