Charlie St. Cloud

In a go-nowhere Pacific Northwest town, dreamy high school sailor Charlie (Zac Efron) puts his Stanford plans on indefinite hold after he momentarily flatlines in a car accident, which also takes his little brother, Sam (Charlie Tahan). Half a decade later, Charlie has sunk into a shy, brooding routine as a cemetery caretaker, meeting his dead bro in the woods every sunset to toss around a baseball. Adapted from a 2005 novel by Ben Sherwood, this blatant heartstring puller from director Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down) is more sentimental than subtle in depicting a grieving young man whose inability to let go has stunted him. But even at its most maudlin — enter Ray Liotta as the St. Jude-praying, cancer-ridden paramedic who revived Charlie and has suddenly reconnected with him — this handsomely shot melodrama has a twist too peculiar to dismiss as some two-bit weepie. Charlie’s way up from out of the drain is through the rousing flirtations of saucy redhead Tess (Amanda Crew), and simultaneously, the vaguely supernatural device for our pretty-boy hero’s coping becomes so literal that Charlie actually bangs a spirit halfway between life and death.

Categories: Movies