Charlie St. Cloud - DVD Review

It's believable to see some actors as a washed-up drunk in a dead-end job. Zac Efron is not one of those actors.

A vehicle for the preposterously good-looking Zac Efron, Charlie St. Cloud is exactly what a vehicle for a young and continually rising actor should be. The film is un-threatening, riskless, toothless, fluff with a restrained central love arc and a gently moralistic plot which viewers of all ages will easily keep up with.

It is also, in part due to those elements, completely awful. The script meanders around, forcing actors to out lines like 'I lived [dramatic pause] a full life' with such weighty abandon that it feels like everyone is reading auto-prompts written by Hallmark. Director Burr Steers, who also shot Efron in 17 Again, keeps everything on the level and in nice soft focus, playing up on the misty elements and tugging gamely at your heart strings. The fact that these heart strings are never effectively pulled is due mainly to the under-writing involved with love interest Tess (Amanda Crew) who lacks a reason for our care and attention until two thirds through when a nice piece of scripting finally gives the film a much-needed shot in the arm.

Up till that point the only prevalent interest in watching Charlie St. Cloud is gleaned from playing 'spot the odd story decision'. Kim Bassinger (who, the DVD box proudly states, is an 'Oscar Winner') appears for all of five minutes before being written out in no more an explained manner than the fact that she has 'moved away'. Ditto Ray Liotta, whose presence seems particularly pointless apart from a lazy piece of storytelling which sees him inspire Charlie (Efron), who he's only met twice, to better things. In and amongst the disappearing Hollywood heavyweights we're also expected to swallow the fact that Charlie is a graveyard caretaker who drinks bottles of JD at night in order to forget the days events. It's believable to see some actors as a washed-up drunk in a dead-end job. Zac Efron is not one of those actors.

No matter though, because the story largely seems to forget these elements when it suits it and Charlie conveniently turns into Action Man in the third act. There's some sweetness and chemistry between Crew and Efron and when he's not being incredibly annoying Augustus Prew gets a couple of good laughs as the comedic relief. Really though, this is too light to care about any of them and if you're desperate to spend two hours gawping at the star's face you'd be well advised to seek out Me And Orson Welles, which is similarly harmless but titanically better in nearly every way imaginable.

Look further...

'It isn’t mind numbingly stupid, but at the same time it isn’t stimulating in any way positive' - gmanReviews, 2.0/10


  1. I didn't hate this... at least not until the last fifteen minutes or so, which was when I did a mental checkout. I still say that if Effron would spend more time on his craft than he does on his hair (and can continue to avoid Disney's evil clutches), he might grow to be a decent actor.

  2. I don't disagree with Efron's potential(I think he showed oodles of it in ME AND ORSON WELLES) but not so sure he had the opportunity to show much of it here. Glad you got more out of it than I although, yes, the finale is particularly weak.

  3. I saw this on TV and while I don't think it's a very good film with some weak points and heavy melodrama. It does have some moments as I think Zac Efron has some potential to be quite decent. I do like the scenes with Amanda Crew whom I like a lot, particularly in the very underrated Sex Drive.

  4. Agree that some of the scenes with Crew and Efron were fairly decent - there were fair levels of chemistry there and, on the whole, they were well directed. First time I think I've seen her actually, I've not seen SEX DRIVE.