Charlie St. Cloud opens today and this story of brotherly bonds so deep they become otherworldly has its sights set on the lady audience. Does it succeed as an emotional heavy-hitter? Or do the heart strings get tugged so hard you get pulled out of the story?
The reviews are in for Charlie St. Cloud and while the story takes the occasional hit, Zac Efron is getting high marks for breaking out of his High School Musical daze.
The New York Daily News sums up the problems, and the successes:
Though it was directed by Burr Steers, Charlie St. Cloud feels more like a misguided collaboration among Nicholas Sparks, M. Night Shyamalan, and Billy Graham. And if Zac Efron hadn't signed on, this sappy spiritual fantasy would certainly have skipped the cineplex altogether -- in favor of eternal rotation on cable.
At MTV they admit to Efron's appeal, but stop at the physical:
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Tahan and Crew (who injects some liveliness into the otherwise turgid proceedings), the real love story at the heart of the picture is the sultry union of Zac Efron and director Burr Steers' camera.
The New York Times reviewer was a fan of the scenery, and not much else:
Charlie, who is played with a pleasant enough blend of geniality and melancholy by Zac Efron, is not a vampire. And the film, directed by Burr Steers (17 Again; Igby Goes Down) and based on a novel by Ben Sherwood, seems unaware of its own gothic tendencies. This is a big problem. Charlie St. Cloud behaves like a heart-swelling romantic melodrama with a supernatural theme, but really, given what happens, it should be a horror movie.
E! in Canada, however, gave it a glowing review:
The movie has a scattering of silly sentiment, but refuses to rely on melodrama clichés. Director Burr Steers (17 Again) and writers Craig Pearce and Lewis Colick take a tasteful approach, and Charlie's outlandish predicament is touching and profound, not ridiculous.
Are you going to see Charlie St. Cloud this weekend?