The Bottom Line: Amidst cries of Hollywood ‘whitewashing’ (based on the poster and trailer alone because no one had actually seen the movie yet; ugh) and a cowering studio that has no idea how to effectively market their latest product (double ugh), writer/director Cameron Crowe’s Aloha washes ashore this weekend in a fairly unceremonious fashion. Shame too because it’s actually quite good, or at least the stuff that works is exceptionally assembled and on display. Not only does it celebrate the rich culture of the island, but it effectively examines the power of communication, the potential of second chances and the pluses & perils of getting steamrolled by the future. Aloha also wears an extremely large heart on its sleeve that’s almost impossible to resist – Cooper, Stone, McAdams and Krazinski bring each of their characters to life and love in ways we might all be able to identify. And like Crowe’s 1996 masterwork, Jerry Maguire, it’s another tale of lone-wolfing that suggests we’re better off running with our own chosen pack. Everyone could use a cheerleader, someone to believe in us… Not everything is peaches and cream here though. There’s a subplot at play, concerning Cooper’s loosely defined profession and his links with the military, US Space Program and an eccentric billionaire that tends to run amuck – like awkwardly so. It could be laziness, poorly written or edited – I’m still not sure. But it works to the point of hurried confusion as we hit the home stretch and attempts to incoherently push the entire film of its tracks. Thankfully, however, we’re jolted out of that messy quagmire and back in to character depth for a strong finish. Despite a few narrative woes – the terrific acting, strong emotional core, eclectic soundtrack and respectful cultural tone help wrap this movie in an easy-breezy island vibe that makes it easy to recommend. Others may turn up their nose to the title alone, but they had me at Aloha.
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride and Bill Murray
Directed by: Cameron Crowe (Say Anything…, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous and We Bought a Zoo)
Running time: 120 minutes
Story: A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs – the US Space program in Honolulu, Hawaii – and reconnects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him…
Official site: www.sonypictures.com/movies/aloha