Just how bad is Cameron Crowe’s jumbled romantic dramedy? Let me count the ways… Read on…
Air Force veteran Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) is an inscrutable military contractor working for a shady billionaire industrialist (Bill Murray) who is launching a privately-funded space satellite.
After an absence of 13 years and a shadowy ‘incident’ in Afghanistan, Gilcrest returns to Honolulu’s Hickam Air Force Base to convince King Kamehameha’s descendant, sovereign activist Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele, to bless a strategic ceremonial gate in return for “two mountains and better cellphone reception.”
None of this is really clear since it’s studded with indigenous Hawaiian spiritualism and a love quadrangle involving Gilcrest, his former girl-friend (Rachel McAdams), her unintelligible husband (John Krasinski) and perky Capt. Allison Ng (Emma Stone), the F-22 fighter pilot assigned to accompany Gilcrest.
Blond, green-eyed Capt. Ng explains her Pacific Island heritage as one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Hawaiian and one-quarter Swedish; as for the fourth quarter, that’s anyone’s guess.
To quote former Sony co-president Amy Pascal, whose private e-mails about “Aloha” were hacked: “It never, not even once, ever works.”
Writer/director/producer Cameron Crowe (“Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous”), whose frothy dialogue is always inventive, goes nowhere with the plot. Every ‘surprise’ is telegraphed in advance. And casting Bradley Cooper was a massive mistake; the charm he evidenced in “Silver Linings Playbook” has gone AOL.
Rachel McAdams’ angst is more annoying than intriguing, since her ‘secret’ is obvious from the get-go, while John Krasinski’s taciturn silence is not as amusing as Crowe makes it seem, and Bill Murray’s growly General is just that – and nothing more.
Which leaves the entire burden on enchanting Emma Stone, one of the most talented young leading ladies around. But even as “Hillary Clinton’s favorite,” she cannot save this picture singlehandedly. Nor can the soundtrack – with a cameo from slack key guitarist Ledward Kaapana.
Delving into subtext, an undercurrent of resentment, rampant in our 49th State, is reflected on “Bumpy” Kanahele’s T-shirt that states, “Hawaiian by Birth, American by Force.”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Aloha” is a frustrating, tepid 3. Avoid this soggy, celluloid pu-pu platter.