Recess is over for former High School Musical phenomenon, Zac Efron, and this weekend’s Universal Pictures release of Charlie St. Cloud marks his third major picture in the big leagues. Based on the highly acclaimed novel by Ben Sherwood, Burr Steers (17 Again, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days), directs this slightly melodramatic but well intentioned romantic drama.

Check out the review below…

The Players:

The Plot:

Efron plays accomplished high school sailor, Charlie St. Cloud, who’s grappling with the recent death of his younger brother, Sam. As he copes with grief, Sam’s ghost appears in the woods and the brothers initiate a nightly routine to talk and play catch. Charlie swears to Sam that he’ll never leave him, kicking  college, sailing and his social life to the curb – getting a job at the cemetery where Sam’s buried. When old high school classmate and fellow sailor, Tess, returns home unexpectedly, Charlie slowly begins to deviate from Sam and finds himself torn between his promise and moving forward with a potential newfound love.

The Good:

  • Zac Efron: Yes, universe, the kid can act. Efron surprised both critics and audiences alike with his recent performances in 17 Again and Me And Orson Welles, though his role in C.S.C. marks a pivotal point in his foresee-ably lengthy career. Efron’s a natural. He’s at ease behind a camera and responds to the work with honesty and familiarity. He’s well on his way  to abandoning the adolescent affectation of his High School Musical projects.
  • Charlie Tahan: Despite Efron’s obvious glow of a presence, Charlie Tahan (Sam) is the real gem here: he brings some unexpected, and unwavering emotional depth to the relationship that really strengthens the brotherly chemistry.
  • Visual: Enrique Chediak, the film’s DP, brought his A-game. Every shot was aesthetically pleasing – from a visual standpoint, C.S.C. was quite picturesque.

The Good/Bad:

  • The Message: Take advantage of what’s in front of you, live life to the fullest, and a handful of other overused cliches comprise the “message” of this film. However, the surplus of tears, whining, and earth-shattering pain reduces any possibility of embracing the aforementioned cliches…it’s just far too over the top.

The Bad:

  • Serious Sap: Burr is pushing the sentimental envelope with this one. C.S.C. borderlines grief overload:  baseball with your dead brother in the graveyard for five  years? Charlie is exchanging a scholarship to Stanford for a grave-digging gig to hone his “sixth sense”? Get a hold of yourself, kid.
  • Amanda Crew: This Canadian recruit failed to impress. Her performance chops weren’t quite up to par with those of the rest of the cast, and she appeared to be very aware of her weak and less than confident acting choices.


Zac Efron fans will swoon like school girls, but on the whole, it’s nothing to write home about. Enjoy it on DVD in a few months.

Rating: 5.5/10

The film hits theaters nationwide on July 30th!


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