Cameron Crowe (ElizabethtownWe Bought a Zoo) gets everything wrong about his Hawaii that The Descendants director Alexander Payne got so right. We begin with vintage Hawaiian footage, alongside military and space footage, warning us of multiple storylines. Crowe assembled another impressive cast, led by Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) in another military role. Aloha is a sad film disguised as a romantic comedy. Yet it isn’t funny nor romantic, as Crowe’s writing focuses on awkward situations and the actors struggle to keep up with the constantly changing personalities of their characters. For instance, when we first meet Emma Stone’s Air Force Captain she is stern, bold and career obsessed, half way into the movie her hair falls down and becomes female stereotype.

     Brian Gilcrest (Cooper) has made mistakes in life, both in his career and personal. He views returning to Hawaii as a chance to make amends with both. First, the military in which he was injured, has hired him to finesse the local Hawaiian natives to bless a new satellite launch pad. Carson Welch (Murray) says he wants to secure the future, however being a quarter Hawaiian herself, Air Force Captain Allison Ng (Stone) feels the winds of change blowing in the wrong direction. Brian will make amends with his ex-girlfriend Tracey (McAdams) while being introduced to her new husband (John Krasinski ) and family. Yet regardless of the wall he has built around himself, nothing can stop the attraction between him and the blond Captain.

The tone of the film is terribly unbalanced with jokes that hit in all the wrong places.

     I have honestly never been impressed with the guy that brought us Jerry Maguire orAlmost Famous. Crowe’s films seem to start out with promise and fall completely apart on screen, perhaps he is just a bad director and needs someone else to visualize his stories. Either way, fives disappointments in a row for the once celebrated filmmaker and I think it’s finally time to declare him a ‘once’ hit wonder. Aloha is bizarre in its delivery and peculiar in every way. As a whole it seems almost schizophrenic in the way the characters change motives and personalities so quickly. Crowe tries to tell stories, past, present and future, and that’s just with Cooper’s character. The tone of the film is terribly unbalanced with jokes that hit in all the wrong places.

     Alexander Payne beautifully worked Hawaii into The Descendants like a background character. Crowe more than obviously tries to do the same with Aloha, but he doesn’t have the same understanding of the culture or mythology and it feels more like a gimmick, while the natives are written like a bunch of nuts. As fun as Stone is to watch on screen, her eyes often telling you everything you need to know, the character is the most bewildering; each scene it’s as if she is a different person. Nobody cries on cue like McAdams but she isn’t given much else to do. Murray, Baldwin and Krasinski are all written like cartoons playing the same note.

Final Thought

A great cast in Hawaii and it still doesn’t work.


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