The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is a novel from 2004 written by former news journalist Ben Sherwood. Universal Studios won the film rights in a bidding war with 2 other studios, and this movie was finally made.
Charlie St. Cloud differs in many ways from the book, which is understandable considering some written aspects can't be properly conveyed visually. But it seems like the changes made here were totally unnecessary.
The story involves a young man, Charlie (Zac Efron), who has the ability to see and interact with his younger brother, Sam (Charlie Tahan), who is killed in a car accident early in the film. It is understood that Charlie gained the sixth sense after he himself had to be resuscitated on the ambulance after the accident by a paramedic played by Ray Liotta. The siblings have a pact to play catch everyday at sunset near the cemetery where Sam is buried, which is where Charlie starts working after Sam's death. Later on in the film, Charlie starts a relationship with a beauty named Tess (Amanda Crew), and has to make a tough decision about whether or not to let go of his brother and move on with his life. But there is a "twist" ending.
Sounds cliche, right?
Well that's because it is... VERY cliche.
Less than 10 minutes into the film I wanted to walk out.
I'm going to use Tonedog's review style for this one. My likes and dislikes, coming up...
What I liked about the movie:
Now I'm not saying that the acting was extraordinary, I'm just saying I liked it. It worked well for this type of film. This is only the second Zac Efron film I've seen, (the first is the hilarious 17 Again, which I really recommend), and he did a really good job. The boy isn't just all good looks. He can act, too.
The young Charlie Tahan did a great job, too. I was really surprised at how well the little kid could act and really made me feel for him as the younger brother with a tight relationship with Charlie.
This movie looks really good. It helps that it was filmed in very beautiful locations around beaches. The filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia in place of Washington state, where the story is set.
It also helps that the actors are gorgeous. Amanda Crew is growing up to be a Hollywood beauty, not to mention that Zac Efron is such a hottie himself, haha.
What I Didn't Like:
The story is such a boring one, and is told in such a boring way, too. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting an action movie or anything, but it just didn't reach out to me at all. I liked most of the acting, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep me interested. The film is filled with all kinds of stupid cheesy cliches, and it really hurts it.
There were also a few plot holes here and there that are either ignored, or given a half-assed explanation. What really got on my nerves was the "twist" ending they try to spring on the audience. It doesn't work. And I don't mean that they didn't do a good job at it, I mean that it doesn't even make any sense. It doesn't follow the rules that the movie has applied to itself, and it falls flat on its face.
The music in this film must have been either really bad, or really cheesy, because I don't remember any of it.
I really don't see the point of casting Ray Liotta or Kim Basinger in a film if you're not even going to put them in it for more than 5 minutes. I was really excited to see Liotta for the first time on screen, as I didn't know he was in this. Then he basically disappears for the entire thing except for just one more short scene. Ridiculous.
Overall, this movie was not very good. I don't recommend it, unless you want to see a lot of close-ups on Efron's face, plus a few scenes when he's soaked wet in a white tee or with his shirt off completely. It's super cliche and has a predictable ending, even though it doesn't make much sense.
Did you watch this movie? What are your thoughts? Remember, it's okay to Agree to Disagree...