Thursday, May 28, 2015

Aloha: Movie Review


A sometimes funny romantic comedy with a plot but it falls short.
Aloha is Cameron Crowe's latest romantic comedy about military personnel in Hawaii. It has three different elements, each carrying a comedic vibe, and while they do all come together rather nicely, none of them completely work on their own. The first is a plot – a somewhat ridiculous, strangely compelling story about a broken (literally in some aspects) and slightly volatile former NASA scientist working for investors trying to weaponize space. Then there are on-going stories about various Hawaiian myths. And finally the romantic subplot. 2015

Directed by: Cameron Crowe

Screenplay by: Cameron Crowe

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone

Bradley Cooper stars as Brian Gilcrest who has worked for NASA and the US military and rich private investors and he has ruined his career at every turn, but is given one last chance with the military where he is to oversee a blessing and make a deal with the sovereign Nation State of Hawaii while the military and a billionaire private citizen send another satellite into space above the island. It's a good character because he has an interesting past, an unclear present and future but he still seems like a nice guy deserving of sympathy. In fact, good characters populate this entire movie.
Bradley Cooper, left, and Emma Stone star in Columbia Pictures' "Aloha."
Emma Stone gets to play a very strict, formal, fighter pilot unfamiliar with the concept of fun (until of course she meets Gilcrest). It's not a character you see all that often. Rachel McAdams plays Gilcrest's former girlfriend now settled in Hawaii, married to another military pilot with a teenage daughter and younger son. John Krasinski who so often plays the nice guy who finishes last has a very oddly funny role as the not-so-nice husband to McAdams' Tracy. Bill Murray plays the very eccentric billionaire, and ultimately Alec Baldwin earns a number of good laughs as a military general.

I really liked the bits of Hawaiian mythology that the film presented, but unfortunately it seemed to go nowhere. At the beginning it gave the film this supernatural feel to it, but then just dropped it when the myths and beliefs weren't mentioned anymore. The military/satellite plot with the weaponization of space gets ridiculous at times, but seeing as the movie is a comedy, that's probably intentional. But the tone can get confusing since there are serious moments for Cooper's Gilcrest and Stone's Ng (pronounced “Ing”).

There are a handful of brilliant comedic scenes reminiscent of vintage Cameron Crowe (Emma Stone calling Bradley Cooper a “sad city coyote” and Cooper translating a silent John Krasinski to Rachel McAdams), but the comedy to each section has a very odd tone and doesn't always come across as funny.

Overall the movie is sold and centered on the romance. The actors make the characters fit together, but it isn't an energetic or sparkling romance so there just isn't enough to tie everything together in Aloha.

Similar Titles:

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) - Showing us the silver linings of life with funny, entertaining and inspirational results.

The Descendants (2011) - Scaling the Hawaiian country-side with tears and laughter.