EMOL> Film> 2010> "Charlie St. Cloud"

Zac Efron is Charlie St. Cloud

By Miv Evans

Charlie St Cloud is a character driven drama, featuring characters who have very little character and who  spend a lot of time on their boats.  So if you like boats and you’re absolutely crazy about Zac Efron, you might find this movie bearable.  Just.    

Charlie lives with his divorced mother and younger brother, Sam.  One night, Charlie gives Sam a ride, they get hit by a drunk driver, Sam is killed, Charlie survives.  Cut to five years later, Sam tends graves for a living and lives in a wooden hut in a cemetery.

Charlie has kept a promise he made to Sam just before the accident,  that he would meet him every night at sunset to practice ball.  Charlie imagines that Sam is really there with him and this keeps Charlie bound to the graveyard.

It is very difficult to enjoy a film when the main character is cast in the role of martyr, filled with angst and has no one to interact with emotionally.  And is having Zac’s eyes fill with tears most of the time, on the verge of a really big blub, such a good idea?

As Universal are probably relying on Efron’s fans to fill the theatres, mightn’t the girls think he’s a bit of a cry baby?

Or is it that the likes of Eastwood and Schwarzenegger are gone forever, and the machismo that was once common currency has been replaced by movie stars who are in touch with their feminine side

So, if that’s the case, are we going to have to replace our flat tires ourselves?   I suppose so, and we couldn’t even give our guy a hard time about it because we’d be too worried he’d start sobbing in front of the neighbors.  Didn’t any of you bra burning maniacs see where this was going?!

A film can be completely lacking in originality and still work.  Ordinary People has a similar storyline to Charlie St Cloud but runs on so many rivers of emotion every moment is compelling.  This film spends a lot of time with Charlie talking to Sam, which feels like we’re just marking time and reminds us that we’ve seen this scenario a million times before.     

So how, at a time when getting a film made is harder than ever, did this film make it into theatres?  With such fierce competition, shouldn’t concepts have to be simply blow-your-socks-off amazing?  Hollywood is famous for the ‘Elevator Pitch’ – you meet a studio exec in the elevator, you’ve got 30 seconds to sell your idea before he gets off at the next floor.   With the Charlie St Cloud script, I can only assume it went like this:

Writer, ‘It’s a really fantastic script about a boy who can’t get over the death of his brother”

Studio Exec, “It doesn’t sound fantastic to me.  And it sounds dark.  We don’t like dark.  No one wants to see it.  And we don’t want people dying.  Death is out right now.  We want happy stuff.  You know, people having a good time.  With the economy, people are going to the movies to feel better.  It’s definitely not for us”

Writer, “I’ve got Zac Efron attached”

Studio Exec, “I’ll have your contract ready in an hour”

DING!

Charlie St. Cloud Synopsis

Release date: July 30, 2010
Genre: Romantic drama

Cast: Zac Efron, Amanda Crew, Donal Logue, Charlie Tahan, with Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta

Based on an acclaimed novel, Charlie St. Cloud is a romantic drama starring Zac Efron as a young man who survives an accident that lets him see the world in a unique way. In this emotionally charged story, he begins a romantic journey in which he embraces the dark realities of the past while discovering the transformative power of love.

Accomplished sailor Charlie St. Cloud (Efron) has the adoration of mother Claire (Oscar® winner Kim Basinger) and little brother Sam (newcomer Charlie Tahan), as well as a college scholarship that will lead him far from his sleepy Pacific Northwest hometown. But his bright future is cut short when a tragedy strikes and takes his dreams with it.

After his high-school classmate Tess (Amanda Crew) returns home unexpectedly, Charlie grows torn between honoring a promise he made four years earlier and moving forward with newfound love. And as he finds the courage to let go of the past for good, Charlie discovers the soul most worth saving is his own.

Produced by: Marc Platt

Executive Producers: Michael Fottrell, Ben SherwoodDirected by: Burr Steers

Screenplay by: Craig Pearce and Lewis Colick

Based on the Novel "The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud " by: Ben Sherwood

Charlie St. Cloud Movie Trailer

Watch the Official "Charlie St. Cloud" movie trailer from Universal Studios through Hulu.

US Release date: 30th July, 2010
Starring: Zac Efron
Featuring: Kim Bassinger (screen time, 3 minutes) and Ray Liotta (screen time, 2 minutes)

To read more reviews by Miv Evans visit www.emol.org/reporters/evans

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