Pages Navigation Menu

ALOHA (review)


Written and Directed by Cameron Crowe

Starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams

Brian Gilchrist: I have found that in its many forms, nothing beats fun.

Alison Ng: Maybe purpose.

I had already decided before going into ALOHA, the latest film from Cameron Crowe, director of classics like SAY ANYTHING and ALMOST FAMOUS, that I would be writing Crowe off entirely if this film was anywhere near as horrible as his recent work. As I wasn’t reviewing ELIZABETHTOWN, I had the luxury of shutting that insufferable film off half way through. I was not so fortunate with WE BOUGHT A ZOO; I had to sit through that mess and cringed most of the way through it. Now I’m conflicted though. ALOHA is nowhere near as terrible as those two films but it affirms beyond any doubt that Crowe has completely lost touch with anything that is genuine and real.

Bradley Cooper;Emma Stone

The trouble with ALOHA is right there on the page. It is far too literal to come anywhere close to feeling natural and you can feel Crowe cramming meaning into every moment. Bradley Cooper plays Brian Gilchrist, a former military man who once believed in infinite possibilities, but who sold out long ago by taking private contracts from billionaires instead of putting his talents to use for the common man. I am still very unclear as to what those talents are as all he does in the film work-wise is negotiate a treaty poorly and hit a bunch of buttons on a laptop, but I digress. He has returned to Hawaii after years of avoiding it for his latest contract, which brings him back in contact with the love that got away from him in his youth (Rachel McAdams). He ran away from his one chance at something real and has been running ever since. Enter Emma Stone as a quarter Hawaiien fighter pilot, who comes complete with aviator shades, a stiff upper lip and a deep connection to the sky and the stars. She is Cooper’s military liaison for his stay and they clash immediately. That’s ok though as it is painfully obvious that her groundedness will help bring him back to his former self at some point in their future. First, he must resolve his past though and learn to shed his heavy cynicism in order to believe in love again. (Get it? Aloha means hello and goodbye and he has to learn to say both of those things!)

Exclusive... Bradley Cooper & Rachel McAdams Are Lovers On Set in Hawaii NO INTERNET USE WITHOUT PRIOR AGREEMENT

At one point in time, McAdams’s character points out how stressed she is in Hawaii, to demonstrate what a mess she would be if she were to live anywhere that wasn’t as relaxing as Hawaii is. She isn’t the only one who can’t seem to let loose in this picturesque setting though. Crowe’s style, both in his direction and his writing, is very stiff and unwavering. ALOHA might as well be a table read with a lot of famous people (Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride and John Krasinski fill out the remainder of the ensemble). Every word that comes out of their mouths is so obviously scripted that no real emotion ever comes with it. There is no room to breathe and again, this is Hawaii; it shouldn’t be this stifling. The trouble is that while Crowe is narrowly focused on achieving perfection, or an idea of what a perfect movie should be, he loses actual focus on the bigger picture. His toiled over verbosity belongs on a stage, not in a movie anymore. ALOHA still wouldn’t be a great play because of how obvious is it but at least the stagy dialogue would feel more at home. In the end, I may not write Crowe off entirely just yet but he is still very much on notice.

2.5 sheep

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Aloha?


Share Your Thoughts