Charlie St. Cloud is a high school graduate with a bright future. He's an award-winning sailor, which he does with his little brother Sam. He has a sailing scholarship to Stanford which kicks in the coming fall. Before he leaves, he promises Sam that he will practice baseball with him every day until his departure. One night, while babysitting Sam, Sam asks him to drive him to a buddy's house so they can watch the Red Sox game while Charlie goes off to a local party. On the way, Charlie crashes the car badly, and Charlie dies. While dead, he hugs his brother and tells him everything will be okay. However, once he is revived by paramedics, he learns that Sam was not so lucky and died on the scene. Charlie is riddled with blame and refuses to stay through the entire funeral. However, while running away from the funeral, he fins that he can see and talk to Sam's ghost. Sam's ghost tells him that the promise he made-- that he can play baseball every day until he leaves for college-- has made it so they can still interact daily. We cut to over half a decade later, where Charlie still resides in his hometown, having given up his scholarship and spending his days working at the local cemetery as a groundskeeper. He begins to develop a relationship with Tess, a young sailor girl who plans on eventually taking a solo sailing trip across the globe. Yet the relationship with Tess can only go so far, as Charlie must go at the same time every day to play catch with Sam. One night, when Charlie is late to play catch, Sam becomes concerned that he will be forgotten, so Charlie tells Tess the truth about his situation, and that he can't hold her over Sam or Sam will be gone forever. Eventually, when looking further into Tess, he learns that she actually left on her solo trip days earlier, leading Charlie to believe that she is dying somewhere, crashed or otherwise hurt, and needs his help. However, he must choose, as leaving to go after Tess will cause him to miss his game of catch with Sam and lose him forever.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's all a little silly, with several shots of Zac Efron staring out at the sunset smoldering for no good reasons and all of the romantic ghost interactions, but it serves its purpose.
Best scene in story:
Charlie's first scene with Tess sparks with chemistry. Efron and Crews have a really good rapport, and the dialogue shared between them is unusually strong for the genre.
Opinion about the main character:
Charlie is tough to grad hold of, as he means incredibly well, but his character arc forces him to exist in a non-stop pity party, which grows tiresome to observe.