Awkward and full of disconnected references, “Aloha,” released nationwide on May 29, 2015, is likely writer/director Cameron Crowe’s least relatable film. Its story has way too much going on; the movie contrasts the military and private sector while alluding constantly to Hawaiian culture from mostly white perspective and jumps into serious romance in little time while clinging to the lead’s “one that got away.” Far too much happens in a few days to be a believable progression.
Working for wealthy entrepreneur Carson Welch (Bill Murray), former military man Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) has loose morals, bombing injuries, and little to live for. In Hawaii, Brian works as a liaison between Carson, the Air Force, and the Hawaiian locals in order to smooth into existence a launch of a satellite owned by Carson, who has ulterior motives. Brian’s former buddy Colonel “Fingers” Lacy (Danny McBride) assigns young star pilot Allison Ng (Emma Stone) to babysit Brian and monitor the deal making. Allison’s peppy innocence bothers Brian at first, but he warms up to her with encouragement from ex-girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), who is having marital problems stemming from lack of conversation with husband Woody (John Krasinski).
As is common in Cameron Crowe’s work, the lead male weighs his decisions and reevaluates his life with the help of a manic-pixie-dream-girl type, but “Aloha” just doesn’t work as smoothly, as effortlessly, as some of his other films. Brian shows little self-reflection and thought; Cooper goes through the motions but he has little to work with. Allison is less believable, though, as she doesn’t seem to embody an Air Force pilot but contains the spontaneous sprightliness of the MPDG while constantly reminding other characters (and the audience) that she is ¼ Hawaiian. Together, all of the characters have awkward, unnatural dialogue that rarely fully explains itself. It’s especially hard to place where Brian is coming from, surprisingly unlike silent Woody’s expressive gestures.
Cameron Crowe’s films have been up and down with inconsistent quality, but “Aloha” may be his worst to date. It never fully embraces the plethora of Hawaiian cultural references to substantiate or reflect on the mysticism mentioned, the dialogue is unreal, and the camerawork is frenzied as if filmed by Tracy’s son’s camera. If you are interested in a film about a white man’s new beginning in Hawaii, check out “The Descendants.” Or catch Crowe’s best film: “Almost Famous.”
Rating for “Aloha:” C-
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Aloha” is playing across Columbus, including at Gateway. For showtimes, click here.