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“Charlie St. Cloud” Lackluster; Zac Efron Still Shines

Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.
Release Date: July 30th, 2010 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language including some sexual references, an intense accident scene and some sensuality.
Distributors: Universal Pictures

Director: Burr Steers

JJ Rating: B

See it again: No.
Own it: A very small maybe, only because Zac Efron is very good and Augustus Prew is a funny character.
Recommend it to: Anyone that likes Zac Efron or anyone that wants to see how great he is at acting. It shows his talent very well. I can’t say it enough.

Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron) is great on a sail boat, and great at racing one. He is also a good older brother that loves Sam (Charlie Tahan), his younger brother. There is a car accident and Sam dies, but Charlie lives. He continues to see Sam every day, and plays catch with him. Charlie learns that sometimes the best thing to do is to let go, but it’s not the easiest. Charlie St. Cloud.

Without a doubt, Zac Efron is a fantastic actor. He doesn’t over dramatize his crying, and because of that, every scene (and there’s about four) that he cries, it looks genuine and heartfelt. I just recently saw (again) The Karate Kid II and when Pat Morita (as Mr. Miyagi) cries, his eyes slowly turn red and his bottom lip trembles as he’s being talked to. Some people might dislike that movie and not think it as good as the first, but that scene is very powerful, and it shows how to display emotion correctly. Reserved without giving it all you got. It could also be because he reminds me so much of my dad, but that scene really made me feel sad. Efron had the same effect. He had a moment at the bar talking to a girl, and it was supposed to be uncomfortable when he said something, and it was. It was very uncomfortable. He then pulls it together and makes a great stance against an idiot who mocks him. He’s so good, so very good. He turned down roles because he didn’t want to be the singing dancing kid for the rest of his career. He’s very remarkable and took this role because he loved the script and the relationship between the brothers.

My problem, though, is with Charlie Tahan who played Sam St. Cloud, the little brother. He is supposed to be the reason I feel sorry and want to feel emotion. But I can’t because he had a stone face. He didn’t have the range of facial expressions that was necessary to pull it off. What he did accomplish was decent, but decent isn’t good enough for what the film needed to be awesome. Efron is so, so, so, so good, and the movie would have been amazing and no one would have to focus on the sci-fi aspect if Tahan pulled his weight, but he didn’t, and ever since I saw The Last Song (which was Miley Cyrus’s film) where Bobby Coleman played the younger brother and had an emotional range I found amazing…I will be disappointed in children who can’t. Had Tahan had that in this film, it would have sold and been amazing. I would have loved it, because I love the entire concept of Charlie St. Cloud. The reason for that is my own book I’m working on touches on someone that can do something similar.

Ray Liotta is a surprise, because he didn’t scream in this film. He was subdued. That was a shock to watch. Thought I’d share.

The execution and the look of Charlie St. Cloud was good and pretty. The entire beginning with the boat race was fun, but the entire film was carried on Efron and Tahan’s shoulders by their relationship--not where the film was located. The look didn’t matter, it was the acting. Period. It could have happened in war torn Africa for all the story cared about. This was a character driven story, no doubt. Amanda Crew played the love interest and she had her share of holding up this film and she does a good job, but her part wasn’t needed as emotional as Tahan’s.

From the trailers, I just wanted Charlie St. Cloud to be good. It just wasn’t, but, as I drilled in this entire review, Efron was perfect. If you do see Charlie St. Cloud, see it to see how great Efron’s acting is, and if that is what you look for in any film--then he will not disappoint.


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