Is there an audience for this kind of "straight" melodrama? The sailing milieu is timely--our hero (Zac Efron) gives up sailing when his brother is killed in a fluke accident, then falls for a round-the-world sailor not unlike Abby Sunderland. And I liked actor-turned-director Burr Steers' Igby Goes Down. He went on to direct episodes of The L Word and Weeds as well as 17 Again, also starring Efron (48 metascore), which I missed.
This movie, adapted from the Ben Sherwood novel The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by a string of screenwriters (including James Schamus, Lewis Colick and Craig Pearce) seems designed to pluck the heartstrings. Obviously I am not the young-girl demo for Nicholas Sparks tearjerkers such as Dear John and The Last Song, although I did cry buckets at The Notebook, which was well-directed by Nick Cassavetes (now playing a dick director in Entourage), who assembled a strong cast: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner and his mom Gena Rowlands.
I know Efron is catnip for the girls, but while he acquitted himself credibly in Hairspray and Me and Orson Welles, I'm not yet fully convinced.