What do you get when you put together a group of well-known and talented actors, Hawaii, and some satellite drama? You get Cameron Crowe’s Aloha. A film so intimidated of being a romantic comedy cliché, that it winds up turning into one anyway, with some twists and turns to try and spice it up a bit – with terrible results.
After a mishap overseas and 18 broken bones, Brian (Bradley Cooper) finds himself back in Hawaii, where his job is to get a blessing from the native Hawaiians so that the air force can build a new base. While there, he bumps into his ex Tracy (Rachel McAdams), whom he hasn’t spoken to in 13 years. She’s married now to a practically mute (he chooses not to talk for reasons not understood) husband (John Krasinski) and has two kids.
His “chaperone,” or watch dog, while he’s on the island is Captain Ng (Emma Stone), a quarter Hawaiian (a fact she loves to bring up), she quickly finds herself pining for Brian’s affections. Throughout all this back and forth attempted romance and love triangle, there’s the whole thing with the satellites and weaponry and taking over the sky that pits Bill Murray as Brian’s adversary and will fly right over your head and will forever remain a useless plot and the weirdest pieces of contrived drama that would rival the “ghost” plot of Nicholas Sparks’s Safe Haven.
Cameron Crowe’s film ultimately suffers from a lot of things, one of them being a major lack of charisma. Almost none of the characters are really likable. The film was shelved for good reason a couple of years ago prior to Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo. He unfortunately saw fit to unshelve it and give us a disaster that doesn’t flow, feels very out of place and disjointed. There are moments that we’re sure even the characters don’t know what’s going on.
The real tragedy of the film isn’t the satellites (the presence of which is still befuddling), or the socio-political issues Crowe presents us with in the native Hawaiians versus being American argument (which would have been intriguing and has needed more time to develop in another setting). However, what really hits hard is the absolute zero chemistry between any of the characters. Cooper and Stone’s romance isn’t believable in the slightest and they have no onscreen charm to their supposed relationship. McAdams is highly underused and her character flutters around Cooper’s, waiting for an explanation that will never come. Krasinski is, perhaps, the best character of all of them and gratefully gives the film some humanity that it somehow got zapped away in everyone else.
Aloha isn’t a film that can easily be forgiven. Crowe’s script is all over the place and has no fluidity. The plot struggles like a floundering fish out of water and the cast, probably knowing the script doesn’t make any sense, don’t try and make any real sense out of their performances. There is no chemistry between anyone and the presence of Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin. Crowe sees fit to cram non-romance drama into the film in an attempt to cover up that the film just isn’t good. Avoid this film at all costs.
Release Date: May 29, 2015 | Director and Screenwriter: Cameron Crowe | Cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, Danielle Rose Russell, Bill Camp | Genre: Romance | MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language, including suggestive comments