film reel image

film reel image

Monday, June 1, 2015

Aloha 2015 * * 1/2 Stars

AlohaDirector: Cameron Crowe
Year: 2015
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Alec Baldwin

I've always thought of Cameron Crowe and James L. Brooks as the same director. Scenes of manipulatively extended, romcom dialogue is what's in both of their arsenals. With Aloha (my newest review), Crowe possesses this nugget but doesn't go overboard. He instead lets the conch of a pedestrian filmmaker careen out. In fact, about the only thing that reminded me of his latest was the soundtrack. The guy who gave us Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire still wants to belt out the classics (Tears for Fears, The Who, and Hall & Oats oh my!). Is it fair that critics everywhere are currently lambasting his ode to Paradise (Paradise being a nickname via America's 50th state)? No it's not. Along with another ribbing droned on Cam with 2005's Elizabethtown, I sympathize in saying that said Kentucky fable and Aloha are flawed but quite watchable. Here, "you had me at hello" slightly translates into "you had me at kinda."

Make no mistake about it though, Aloha is somewhat messy. Discombobulated, choppy, and meagerly edited also comes to mind. At certain intervals, it descends into almost nothing. Then when you least expect it, there are some genuine moments. But hey, it's safe to assume that I'm not overwhelmed with praise. Uneven is indeed, a prickly term. I mean, is this a flick possessing a love triangle paired with quadruple facets? Sort of. Is what's on screen the right stuff touted as spaceflight symposium? Okay, why not. And is Cameron Crowe working for the tourism bureau in Hawaii? It sure seemed like it. Granted, I've never witnessed anything so bent on heightening the glow of Mele Kalikimaka in my entire life. I don't need to fly ten hours to experience the rainy season or surf the Pipeline. After viewing this scenic mesh with a running time of 107 minutes, I've already gotten my fix.

Anyway, after being nominated for three consecutive Oscars (in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and American Sniper), Bradley "I got the world by the tail" Cooper is in almost every frame of Aloha. Here, Philadelphia's proud son tries his hand at playing a government contractor named Brian Gilcrest. Brain has been given a second chance. He's on the comeback trail and primed to work for a billionaire named Carson Welch (played by Bill Murray who sports some worldly scruff). Basically, he's in the process of launching a satellite and his talent rides on the concept of computer hacking via the Japanese intelligence (I think that's accurate). To complete this act, he has to venture out west by going back to the Aloha State (Hawaii of course). And while taking in the cool breeze, Mr. "Sexy Pants" (his unwanted nickname) runs into an old girlfriend (Rachel McAdams as Tracey Woodside), romances an Air Force watchdog assigned to follow him (Emma Stone as Allison Ng), and deals with an unsympathetic General (Dixon played by Alec Baldwin) who blasts his performances for past job excerpts. This is all done within the backdrop of ancient Hawaiian customs, picturesque Cessna rides, and Kahiko hula dances. In 2011's The Descendants, George Clooney proclaims, "Paradise? Paradise can go f**k itself". In 2015, Cooper's character says "you're not gonna pick my brains; they're unpickable". Ah, Hawaiispeak. Ring me another Mai Tai bartender.

All in all, the word aloha is defined as a Hawaiian term faceted to envelope greetings or the parting from someone. I was embraced cordially but still will greet Aloha the film, as a mixed bag. It's a vehicle that starts like an entered dream in which there is no beginning (this is a rule I obtained from the concepts of 2010's Inception). The proceedings then veer into deeper territory with some Space Age fabric not to mention sound barrier breakaways. Oh and the lovey dovey aroma is also in the air so try not to be too polarized by what you see. My rating: 2 and a half stars. Affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. That in a nutshell, heralds Crowe's current, May release as the cinematic equivalent of a mild hallelujah. See it and be sure to take the proverbial high road.

Of note: I don't dislike Emma Stone as an actress but with ample trying, I just couldn't buy her as a romantic lead paired up with the 40 year-old, Bradley Cooper. She's cute and perky with spunk. However, her look is that of a twinkle-eyed youngin. She's the kid sister, the daughter, or the girl you wanna do arts and crafts with. The movie's love story between her Allison and Cooper's Brian is forced upon us, the audience. It pronounces Stoney as a romanticized, military liaison in the renown, most obvious way. Oh and when she boogies with Bill Murray at a party function (during the film's midsection), it made me want to avoid listening to "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" for many years to come. Frightening.

Written by Jesse Burleson


  1. The fact that Emma Stone was supposed to be 1/4 Hawaiian really didn’t hit me other than Stone has Almond shaped eyes. They also used a lot of locals in the film. I think it’s simply a good movie!

  2. Hey Thomas, I didn't think Aloha was a bad film. I just think that it seemed a little misguided not to mention being an advertisement for tourism via the state of Hawaii. As for Emma Stone, well she's adorable but there's no way I would believe that she had Hawaiian blood in her. That's just stretching it.