Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

11 August 2010

If You're Reading This...

...then you probably have no intention of seeing Charlie St. Cloud, the new film by Burr Steers (who also made the Zac Efron starrer 17 Again). And you're probably not going to see the movie for the same reason that I would (under normal circumstances) not have seen this movie, viz. that you are probably a moviegoer with some modicum of good taste.

I have to tell you, though, Zac Efron is just adorable, and I found the pull of Mr. Efron too difficult to resist as my little sister and I purchased tickets to a matinee of Charlie St. Cloud.

To be fair, the movie is awful. It's an exercise in feelings. Like, how many times can we try (and fail) to make our audience cry? It's a total Nicholas Sparks movie with a male central character instead of a female one. Charlie St. Cloud is a young man who has a lot of promise as a sailor but gives up his full ride to Stanford so that he can play catch with his dead brother every afternoon before the sun goes down. In this way he keeps his brother alive (the movie calls this kind of living "the in-between") and his brother really does play catch with him and stuff. So, Charlie isn't crazy, per se, the brother is really there.

Then, see, there's this girl who he falls in love with in about twenty minutes, and she pulls him away from the little boy ("he's dead, Charlie; you have to move on!") and so we have conflict. It's all very sweet.

There are some fun side characters. Augustus Prew is a sort of adorable townie who tries to get Charlie to cheer up. That might be it, actually. Ray Liotta is in the movie, as well, and he gives this bizarrely intense, Jesus-inflected performance that I simply did not understand.

I have to admit to kind of enjoying the movie, despite all of these failings. I mean, it's not good by any stretch of the imagination, but Zac Efron really does deliver on the beauty factor. He is gorgeous. There is no denying it; and the movie is harmless enough.

I want to mention one other thing, and then perhaps I should hide my shame and simply not discuss Charlie St. Cloud any further. There is this motif about geese in the movie that runs throughout the second and third acts. It is put in as a kind of comic device, a running joke. This weird little trope never pays off, and I was left wondering why no one did anything about these geese.

Let me end with this. Mostly because I know that asking a question about why a running joke never pays off in a movie like Charlie St. Cloud is just as intelligent as asking why I went to see the movie in the first place.