Many a younger teen girl will flutter at the presence of Zac Efron in "Charlie St. Cloud," a tear-soaked, irony-free drama about grief, loss and getting on with life. But when the camera lingers too long on Efron's baby blues it's embarrassing, as if the camera has a crush on him. And the story, clumsily laced with semi-occult elements, is weak.
Charlie (Efron) is a gifted sailor and student about to go to college on a boat racing scholarship. But when he and his adored kid brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) are in a car accident and Sam dies, Charlie is shattered. He communes with his brother's spirit in the woods and promises to meet him there every day. Five years later, Charlie works at the cemetery and lives like a hermit. The paramedic (Ray Liotta) who saved him after the accident urges Charlie to use his "second chance." And when he meets Tess (Amanda Crew) he seems ready to try.
The bottom line: The car crash is not graphic, but intense when Charlie sees his little brother has died. There is a mild sexual situation with steamy kisses, removal of outer clothing and an implied overnight tryst. There is drinking, crude language and mild profanity. The film might be hard for teens who have recently lost a loved one.