Defense contractor Bryan Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) heads to Hawaii to work on a satellite launch for his boss, Carson Welch (Bill Murray). While in Hawaii, Bryan catches up with his ex-girlfriend, Tracy (Rachel McAdams), and forms a new relationship with his Air Force liaison and F-22 fighter pilot Allison Ng (Emma Stone).
Let’s cut to the chase. This movie is a f***ing disaster. Is it a comedy or a drama? What’s the main plot? Why is Emma Stone playing a character of Hawaiian, Chinese, and Swedish descent? I don’t know. I don’t even think director and writer Cameron Crowe (of Say Anything and Jerry Maguire fame) knows what the hell he was doing with his own movie. And you can tell because this movie is shit (even Sony knew it was shit, which we saw when their emails leaked).
Mainly, it’s a hodgepodge of storytelling. We start out with the standard “love triangle” will-they-won’t-they story between Bradley Cooper’s Bryan, Rachel McAdams’ Tracy, and Emma Stone’s Ng (We all knew he’d end up with Stone’s character because she’s the manic pixie dream girl). Hilariously, Crowe tried to tie that love story into the Hawaiian myth of Lono and Pele because (I’m assuming) he thought adding Hawaiian folklore would somehow make the movie seem less whitewashed and not like he was only using Hawaii as an exotic backdrop for a romance between white people.
Oh, don’t worry…it gets better. The story also tries to cover the relationship between the military and the privatization of space exploration and telecommunications. And then it tacks on the personal redemption through sacrificing a professional career story, a subplot about a rocky marriage between secondary characters, and a “Just kidding! You’re my daughter’s father” surprise. And did I mention the movie just briefly introduced the complex issue of Hawaii’s sovereign nation and their strained relationship with the U.S. government? WELCOME TO CAMERON CROWE’S SCHOOL OF WRITING (Course 101: “How to Not Write a Screenplay”).
Honestly, the only good thing about this movie is that Crowe didn’t write Tracy and Ng as the typical female characters in a “love triangle.” You know, the ones who sabotage each other in order to win the love of the man (and claim his penis in the name of estrogen, or whatever it is that romantic characters do). And thank god because that would’ve moved this movie in “F” territory for me.
Overall, Aloha is a terrible movie that shouldn’t have even made it to a nationwide release (Sony even admitted it was crap). It’s poorly written, the characters are basically rom-com stock images, and there’s the whole issue of whitewashing and quickly introducing and then sidelining the story about Hawaii’s nationalist society that I’m not even going to get into because I’d probably write a graduate thesis. Cameron Crowe, my advice would be to stop making movies.
For my radio review of Aloha on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 29:33 mark).