MOVIE REVIEW: Charlie St. Cloud

I’m willing to believe almost any near-death experience, but seriously hope that they don’t drag on like this.


Based on a positive review in the local paper by Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wife and I decided to go to see the new movie Charlie St. Cloud at the Madison Theatre, in walking distance of our house, last week. Right before we left, I discovered that LaSalle’s opinion was the minority one among critics. Still, I wanted to give the movie a chance. Also, I had never seen Zac Efron, star of the High School Musical series, in any film.

Here are the good things: the movie STARTS with the big race. Efron shows signs of being a charismatic actor. And the Canadian Southwest, standing in for the American Northwest, is kind of pretty, as is Efron.

Here are the not-so-good things: if you saw the trailer, or even know the title of the 2004 source material, you pretty much know everything there is to know about this movie. Yet, at 1:47, it seems to run interminably long. I think that the basic premise, finding a way to move on after tragedy, is a good, solid lesson. And if this were a 1:30 Lifetime movie, including commercials, it might even have been more worthwhile.

It also has a reverse Sixth Sense feel, which some critics found objectionable but I did not; I’m willing to believe almost any near-death experience, but seriously hope that they don’t drag on like this. Though predictable, I enjoyed the penultimate scene and Ray Liotta as the wise man.

This may play better with the target demographic, though this $44 million film released on July 30 is not close to making back its production costs, as of this writing.

Some day, in a few years, you may be flipping through the channels on your TV and come across Charlie St. Cloud. You’ll probably watch it for a while before pulling out the remote. It’s that kind of movie; not truly awful, just a bit bland.
***
I was sorry to see how poorly Scott Pilgrim did at the box office, despite mostly solid reviews. Makes me want to go see it even more before it totally disappears from the cinemas.