ALOHA – Review by Susan Granger

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.