Charlie St. Cloud
July 30, 2010
On the Big Board
|There's an interesting twist in here, and I found it watchable. Better at least than Dear John.
Well, it’s finally happening. We all hoped that this day wouldn’t come (or, rather, some of us did), but it’s finally here: Zac Efron is attempting to make a transition. Yes, Zac Efron, the blandly attractive, inoffensive, and boring lead of the High School Musical movies, is making a transition from Disney actor to real actor. As the title character of Charlie St. Cloud, based on the novel The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, written by Ben Sherwood, Efron will play a young man who, while a teenager, dies in a car accident but is somehow brought back to life. His brother isn’t as lucky, simply dying in the accident. When Charlie, years later, meets a young woman who appears to be able to commune with the dead, a romance begins, even if she’s not…you know, alive.
The plot’s a bit sticky, certainly, but it’s heavy on fantasy and romance. Efron will fit the bill for the romantics in the audience, but this film, co-starring Kim Basinger, Dave Franco (James Franco’s younger brother), and Donal Logue, is going to be the first step in him being thought of as a real actor, not just a kid playing dress-up. Also, the film is being directed by Burr Steers (the man who directed Igby Goes Down and played the Flock of Seagulls-coiffed young man who gets shot by Samuel L. Jackson at the beginning of Pulp Fiction) and written by Craig Pearce (who wrote Moulin Rouge!) & Lewis Colick (who wrote October Sky). Unless the movie’s an Ishtar-style flop, of course, Efron’s career will survive, but if it does well, we might be stuck with him for a long time.
Charlie St. Cloud, right now, strikes most deeply as something akin to either The Lovely Bones (in the idea of the dead communicating with the living) or The Time Traveler’s Wife (which was very heavy on the fantasy-romance hybrid). Granted, while both of those books were very popular, both of their cinematic adaptations were….well, it’s just the opinion of this writer, but they weren’t very good. That being said, Steers, as a director, is very indie, and wouldn’t seem easy to fall into the same problems that Peter Jackson might have. Pearce’s previous scripts may be a bit outrageous, but Colick’s realist style might balance it out. So, for all the potential problems, Charlie St. Cloud might be a romantic fantasy worth checking out, even if it’s got Zac Efron as the lead. (Josh Spiegel/BOP)