Zac Efron sees dead people
in a film aimed at a teen audience that manages to find enough pathos to
deep within a vault buried beneath the Disney lot, is a laboratory that has one
function; to create the perfect leading actors. That is how Zac Efron surely came into existence.
The man is simply too perfect to be true. Those
chiselled looks, that heart-melting gaze, those eyebrows of power, damn him and
his horribly perfect looks. Of course being an actor, rather than a model,
the question has to be asked can he put those looks to good use? After the High
School Musical franchise the jury was still out. Me And Orson Welles (2008)
went someway to showing that there is potential, so his latest outing as the
titular Charlie St Cloud must cement his credentials. As it goes it does not so much prove he is an actor to keep an eye on
but it certainly shows he can carry a film.
(Efron) is a hot-shot sailor, so much so he has just won a trophy with his
brother Sam (Tahan) and a
scholarship to college. However, one tragic night Charlie and Sam are involved
in a car accident which leaves Sam dead and Charlie a shell of his former self.
Deciding to stay in his sea-side town Charlie withdraws into himself and spends
all his time working at the local cemetery and talking to the ghost of his
brother Sam. Things take a turn for the better though as Charlie befriends Tess
(Crew), an attractive girl who plans
to sail around the world.
on Ben Sherwood’s book the filmic outing of Charlie is firmly
aimed at a predominantly Twilight audience. It’s location, which is
distinctly similar to Twilight’s Forks but with more sunshine, less werewolves
and ghosts instead of vampires, is just one parallel that can be drawn. So in keeping with the Twilight theme the
film often seems heavy handed on the message it is trying to convey. Ray
Liotta’s paramedic, who saves Charlie’s life after the car crash, turns up
later suffering from cancer and anxious to expel the virtues of Saint Jude the
patron saint of lost causes. So by the
end if you haven’t taken the hint that you must live life rather than let it
pass you buy then you may in fact be a ghost yourself.
the same lines there are times when you feel Effron was cast with the intention
of breaking his normal casting type. Watching a scene of him mope around while
swigging Jack Daniels feels borderline wrong and a clear example that at some
point this film did not know who its target audience was.
Charlie has more of an emotional pay-off that the ever pouting Twilight. A
twist in the final third sends it firmly into the category of David S. Goyer’s The Invisible (2007)
but works as it manages it without telegraphing it in any way.
so to Charlie himself and that man Efron. We
know he can sing and dance but here he shows he can do damaged as well.
Sure a little more stubble and a little less pecks and abs on display would
have worked wonders for the acting credentials, but overall Efron works well
in the role of Charlie. In particular his chemistry with young Charlie Tahan,
who plays his ghostly brother Sam, sparks lively sibling affection. Alongside him Amanda Crew, as the love
interest on hand, looks like she may be a young clone of Jennifer Love Hewitt
but more than holds her own in the screen presence stakes.
St Cloud won’t put Efron on the map anymore than he already is, but at the
same time it is a film that will more than for fill his fans enjoyment levels. It layers the sub-text on with a large
digger but it does at least have a cute emotional payoff that will have all bar
the most cynical feeling a little bit uplifted. Less saintly more angelically