"Charlie St. Cloud"

I went in to this movie not knowing much about it, except that it is based on the book, entitled The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud. Zac Efron is widely known for his roles in the "High School Musical" movies, so I was also wondering if he'd be able to pull off acting in a dramatic movie. His acting was average, but the movie itself was a pleasant surprise.

Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron, "17 Again") seems to have it all - he's just graduated high school, he has a sailing scholarship to Stanford, and he has a little brother (Charlie Tahan, "Nights in Rodanthe") who adores him. All of that changes, however, after a fatal car accident, in which he survives but his brother does not. Charlie defers from Stanford, and we then flash-forward to five years later, in which he is working as the groundskeeper at the local cemetery where his brother is buried. He reunites with Tess (Amanda Crew, "Sex Drive"), a high school classmate of his who intends to sail around the world, and there seems to be something between them; she is leaving for her journey soon, though, and she will be away for six months.

Zac Efron is not a great actor, but he is handsome enough that most of the time we can forgive him for his so-so acting. There were many good supporting actors in the film, including Dave Franco (TV's "Scrubs") as a friend of Charlie's who ships out to the military, and Kim Basinger ("The Informers") in a small part as Claire St. Cloud. Ray Liotta ("Date Night") also plays a good part as the paramedic that brings Charlie back to life after the car accident, and from whom Charlie learns a valuable life lesson.

I would say Yes, see this movie. Although many parts were sappy and seemed like a Lifetime TV movie, the movie was overall interesting and had a nice message. There's also a major plot twist about halfway through the film that I did not see coming. Although a movie about a boy losing a close loved one may not be very original, "Charlie St. Cloud" has a lot of heart, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

"Charlie St. Cloud" hits theaters this Friday, July 30.

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