Who's In It: Zac Efron, Amanda Crew, Kim Basinger, Ray Liotta, Charlie Tahan, Donal Logue, Dave Franco
The Basics: All-American hottie Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron) is Stanford-bound on a sailing scholarship when tragedy strikes and younger brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) is killed in a car accident. Cut to five years later: Charlie has thrown his promising future away to work as the world's sexiest graveyard groundskeeper, because it allows him to remain close to his dead little brother -- with whom he still plays catch every day at sunset. Yes, Zac Efron can see dead people. When a comely sailor girl (Amanda Crew) comes into his life, Charlie must choose between staying in Loserville with his ghost friends and going on a date for the first time in five years. You can guess which life he chooses -- but I guarantee you won't predict the crazy, ZOMG-filled way in which it happens!
What's The Deal: Based on a novel by Ben Sherwood, this teen weepie notches the first true-blue misfire by Zac Efron and his camp in his fledgling post-High School Musical acting career. The film's first problem is that it wants to be both star vehicle and serious drama, flitting between fetishizing its young star and letting him show off his heretofore untapped dramatic chops. Eventually, however, the competition between Efron's eyelashes/abs/tan and his Acting with a capital A are both overshadowed by the silliest plot twist in recent memory -- a metaphysical detour so stupendously stupid it can't even follow its own logic. The bad news for Efron is that Charlie St. Cloud will be remembered more for these exponentially silly supernatural elements than for his dramatic performance, which is surprisingly solid and shows much more range than previously seen in his career.
The Sixth Sense Meets White Squall Meets Hallmark Channel Movie Of The Week: Charlie St. Cloud is equal parts supernatural hijinks, boating actioner, and grief melodrama -- a strange combination of elements that work against each other and makes Charlie St. Cloud feel like three movies smashed into one. Director Burr Steers does an able job with each of these elements individually (his sea action sequences are gorgeously shot, and the heavy themes are tempered for a PG-13 audience) but can't quite make the puzzle pieces fit together.
Who Sticks Around Just Long Enough To Cash The Check: Kim Basinger, as Charlie and Sam's double-shift-working single mother, who shows up in about two prologue scenes and is never seen again. Also putting in a fleeting appearance: Ray Liotta as the medic who saved Charlie's life and comes back to tell him he was brought back for a greater purpose.
Why Charlie St. Cloud Will Earn Cult Status Among Efron Fans For Years To Come, In Four Words: Kinky graveyard sexy time. You read that right.