When his brother dies in a car crash, Charlie St. Cloud (Efron) gives up his Stanford scholarship, wracked with guilt, and begins the long path to redemption.
Zac Efron’s quest to prove he’s more than a teen heartthrob will neither be hurt nor particularly helped by this adaptation of Ben Sherwood’s weepy bestseller. While Efron shows flashes of honest-to-god acting as the bereaved young man who throws away his future to atone for a horrendous accident, the way the camera lingers on his oh-so-dreamy features makes those flashes hard to spot. And he’s very much the focus here — although Charlie Tahan’s good as his little brother, and Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta show up in tiny supporting roles. The tone skips from romance to tragedy and comedy until the third act, when the pace picks up and there’s some excitement. But it feels like the book’s edges were too over-smoothed, leaving this feeling just a little bland.
An adaptation that smooths out the sharp edges of Ben Sherwood's source novel, it's a decent enough vehicle to flaunt Efron's acting chops.