Saturday 8 May 2021

Movie Review: Aloha (2015)

A romantic comedy with convoluted but irrelevant sub-plots, Aloha never shakes the impression that a bunch of actors took a dream vacation and cobbled together a platitudinous project to write-off the expenses.

Army veteran and now private contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) returns to Hawaii to negotiate a land access agreement with a native chief. Brian is working for tycoon Carson Welch (Bill Murray), who is operating a satellite business with murky ties to the military. Air Force Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone) is Brian's liaison, and he also reconnects with his ex-girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), now married to man-of-few-words Major John "Woody" Woodside (John Krasinsky).

The land negotiations go reasonably well, with Allison (who is one quarter Hawaiian) entranced by the natives' spiritual connection to the sky, whereas Brian remains more grounded. Allison's all-business facade starts to melt in the presence of Brian's charisma, but he is more intrigued by the potential of rekindling the passion with Tracy. But when the real cargo of Carson's latest satellite project is revealed, Brian has to decide where his loyalties lie.

A lacklustre outing by writer and director Cameron Crowe, Aloha meanders in and out of several storylines with no conviction. Riding on the laid-back star power of Cooper, Stone, McAdams, Murray plus Alec Baldwin in a glorified cameo, the plot has traces of romantic comedy, a barely-there side-story about evil corporations desecrating the sanctity of the land, and an overly familiar damaged and cynical man making half-hearted attempts to right past wrongs.

The talented cast and decent island scenery offer some enjoyment, and to give Crowe his due, he pulls out a final father-daughter scene that belongs in another, much better movie. But the rest of the narrative never justifies itself as a story that needed to be told. The script lacks wit and edge, and gets worse at it goes along, choking on cliches of women falling for a flawed man they want to fix in between unconvincing debates about spirituality and pragmatism. By the time a kid's photograph reveals a weapons secret and one guy with a laptop reprograms a satellite on the fly, all credibility is lost.

The big familial reveal is telegraphed in the opening five minutes and comes as no surprise among all the other no surprises. It is left to John Krasinski to try and salvage a few moments of humour as a stoic husband who says plenty by not talking. He's a man who knows who he is, whereas Aloha suffers from  both an identity crisis and impostor syndrome.

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  1. I had the unfortunate moment of seeing this in the theaters and... goddamn... one of the worst movies I had ever seen in my life. I was asked to watch it for another website and... it pissed me off in how stupid it was.

    Here's my review of the film and.... I spared no one in that fucking piece of shit. To me, the film serves as an example of what happens when a filmmaker who is known for a certain style becomes not just too comfortable with it but also has his head so far up his ass and lost sight on the concept of storytelling.

    1. Yes, not the finest moment for anyone involved in this one.


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