By Jon Gallagher
Aloha (Columbia, 2015) – Director: Cameron Crowe. Writer: Cameron Crowe. Stars: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Bill Camp, Jaeden Lieberher, Danielle Rose Russell, Michael Chernus, Edi Gathegi, Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele, Elizabeth Marvel, & Ivana Milicevic. Color, PG-13, 105 minutes.
I wanted to see this movie when it was in the theaters, but it never made it to my small town and by the time I was able to make it into the “big city,” it had been pulled from screens. With an illustrious cast including eye candy Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone, plus the comedic talents of Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, and John Krasinski, the film was written and directed by one of my favorites, Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire). Bradley Cooper had the male lead, giving us a decent actor and eye candy for the ladies. What could go wrong?
I don’t know, but something sure did.
Cooper plays a former Air Force pilot who has gone over to the private sector. His boss (Murray) sends him to Hawaii to oversee the launch of a new privately owned satellite. There, he finds his former lover (McAdams) who is married (to Krasinski), with a couple of teenage kids. Stone plays Allison Ng, an Air Force pilot who is assigned to watch over Gilcrest (Cooper) while he’s on the island.
McAdams and Krasinski’s marriage is on thin ice, so the insertion of a former lover certainly complicates things. Meanwhile, Allison is practically throwing herself at Gilcrest in an attempt to hook up, but he is not the least bit interested (What’s wrong with that man???).
Part of Gilcrest’s assignment is to negotiate a land swap with a descendent of King Kamehameha. Allison helps to guide him even though he’s more than familiar with Hawaiian customs, traditions, and legends.
The whole problem is that the billionaire (Murray) launching the satellite included a nuclear device, turning it into a weapon, which will make him the most powerful man in the world. Allison finds out that Gilcrest knows about the weapon and has sold out for money.
The movie is supposed to be a romantic comedy, so the love story of Gilcrest being torn between Allison and Tracy (McAdams) covers the romantic part of the equation. The comedy part is supplied by Baldwin in his role of an over-the-top general who wants to make sure the deal goes through without a lot of thought towards “how.” Murray is good as the eccentric, power-hungry billionaire.
Unfortunately, Crowe attempts to appeal to everyone with this script. He’s got the romantic part for the ladies, the plot part for the guys who the ladies drag to the movie, and in case the plot doesn’t do it, he’s got Stone and McAdams for aesthetic value.
It was Bill “the Evil Bartender” Cosby who once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Crowe should have listened to him when he attempted to do just that.
Maybe revealing the plot a little earlier would have helped. The first 20 minutes of the movie seemed to drag and at one point had me seriously considering turning off the DVD player. I stuck it out till the end, which did have its moments; it just took too long to get there.
There was one very tender moment towards the end when two of the characters make a discovery that has been hinted at throughout the movie, and I found that satisfying.
No one was horrible. McAdams and Baldwin were most remarkable in their roles, but not good enough to save the film for me.
I’ll give it a D. Don’t bother renting it, but wait for it to hit free TV if you’re still interested in seeing it.