Academy Award-winner Cameron Crowe turns his attention to second chances in this comedic romance.
Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a celebrated military contractor, returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs – the US space program in Hawaii – and reconnects with a lost love, Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams). Tracy is now a mother of two and married to another military man in husband John (John Krasinski). While in Honolulu, Cooper is given a watchdog, in the form of a no nonsense Air Force fighter pilot and captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), who immediately grates on him.
Cooper plays the kind of guy who has been looking over his shoulder with a certain amount of regret. So it is that Crowe wanted to tell a story about the lure of the past and the promise of the future.
I am sorry to say that the man who wrote and directed two of the most memorable movies of the past 20 years (Jerry Maguire in 1996 and Almost Famous in 2000) has lost his mojo. I say that based on his efforts here, where he has created a succession of weak characters that don’t do justice to the actors who fill those roles.
Emma Stone is nothing if not downright annoying. And those remarks come from someone who has enjoyed her burgeoning career. Hollywood’s golden haired boy (figuratively speaking) Bradley Cooper has an insipid role as a washed up NASA man turned privateer. Come to think of it, “wet” sums it up perfectly. We are expected to believe that John Krasinksi’s character is a strong silent type, after he exchanges a few choice, manly words with Cooper on the way over to Hawaii. Really. So, where’s the credibility in that? Bill Murray just plays to type as a bloke who does as he pleases as a multi-billionaire, but he is hardly stretched or challenged; nor did I think Danny McBride, who is given the role as a Colonel who has a peculiar habit of compulsively flexing his fingers, added anything to the plot. Alec Baldwin plays a bombastic four-star General, which I simply saw as a stereotype and/or caricature.
Only Rachel McAdams is left to fly the flag with any conviction or merit and she does female angst and romance better than most, most of the time.
I find it hard to hide my disappointment at Aloha from a filmmaker who has produced such memorable product. This is lame, syrupy sweet nonsense in the name of doing the right thing by the native Hawaiian population. While there is nothing wrong with the spirit in that sentiment, it comes down to how you get there. And that to me was largely with “B” grade fare, at best.
Dare I suggest it is a “girly girly” movie, for fear I will be branded a sexist. Oh, stuff it, I will anyway.
Rated PG, Aloha scores a 5 to 5½ out of 10.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Bill Murray
Release Date: 4 June 2015
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television