Review: Aloha Does Nothing Interesting With Its Impressive Cast
Director: Cameron Crowe
Screenplay: Cameron Crowe
Principal Cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin
Summary: A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him.
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t like romantic comedies. I can only think of a few that I liked and even then, it was more of a tolerance than anything else was. When I looked into Aloha the only thing that gave me even a little hope was the very impressive cast. These are a lot of award nominees and director/writer Cameron Crowe has done some okay movies in the past. I wasn’t exactly optimistic but I was at least hopeful.
Aloha is saved by its impressive cast that keeps it from being insultingly bad and instead is just predictable and boring.
There is a scandal that is following Aloha that seems to be the only promotion it seems to have received. There are native Hawaiians that are upset about the way the movie basically uses their country and culture as a backdrop for its very white cast. I have to say that I can agree with them. The native Hawaiians have their culture played off almost like a fantasy novel, which makes it bounce between unbelievable and stupid in the context of this movie. There is also the fact that Captain Ng (Emma Stone) spends almost the entire movie declaring she is part Hawaiian which is really just insulting to everyone. The movie shows nothing but Caucasian people despite the fact that the Caucasian population in Hawai’i is only 30% but you’d never know that while watching Aloha. The plot reasons for this location are paper-thin and could have been easily re-written into something that isn’t insulting.
There is also the fact that the movie is entirely predictable. There is a reveal toward the end that I really hope wasn’t supposed to be a surprise because the script basically gave it away twenty minutes into the movie. Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) spends the entire movie hinting at some sort of past discretion but the script doesn’t seem to deem this information important enough to share. Carter Welsh (Bill Murray) is written like a third string bond villain and not even Bill Murray can hide the fact that he’s the bad guy. The age difference between Cooper and Stone, fourteen years in real life and it’s not really brought up in the movie, makes things uncomfortable to watch. Cooper isn’t quite old enough to be Stone’s father but he isn’t aging well and sometimes looks like it.
The cast is trying their best to make this mess work but by the natural charisma that most of them have is the only thing that keeps the movie afloat. The structure makes the running time of 105 minutes seem painfully long and there is ultimately too much going on to let anyone really develop beyond what the clichés of the genre want them to be. John Krasinski is saddled with the most interesting role, a military man so withdrawn he rarely speaks to his own family, but the movie doesn’t seem too keen on exploring why that is. There is a brief explanation but it never really tells us what happened to make a man withdraw that much and his lack of speech is played for laughs at the end.
Aloha is another movie in a long line of pieces created to sell on its cast alone. There are a lot of big name stars here but none of them are doing anything interesting enough to run out and see the movie. It says a lot that the earthquake movie starring a former WWE wrestler is better than a comedy helmed by award nominees and written/directed by the man that brought us Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire.