There was a time when Cameron Crowe actually knew how to make good movies but ever since he won an Oscar for Almost Famous he seems to have lost his groove. Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown and We Bought A Zoo were all disappointments but Aloha is perhaps the biggest misfire of Crowe’s career and there were times in this movie when I was asking myself if the guy who wrote movies like Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous actually wrote this thing.
While on assignment in Oahu, Hawaii, military contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) reconnects with his old flame Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams), now married to an Air Force recruit (John Krasinski). He also spends time with Allison Ng (Emma Stone), a hard-nosed fighter pilot who watches every move that he makes. As they travel throughout the lush terrain, Brian finds himself falling for his feisty guide, while his conversations with Tracy may provide a shocking revelation from their past.
Aloha is a movie that tries to be more clever than it actually is and ends up being a mess of these ideas that could have been something if they were explored properly. There is so much stuff in this movie that feels hopelessly contrived and forced and things simply don’t amalgamate together the way they should which leave you feeling weird. I mean I literally had a poker face for the most part of this movie. The movie is full of these random scenes that just feel out-of-place, its poorly edited and the dialogue is without doubt the worst I’ve heard in any Cameron Crowe movie. I really had a hard time believing what these characters were saying. One of the biggest disappointments of this movie for me though was Emma Stone, who at times was the worst thing about this movie. It’s surprising how annoying her character was in this because up until now I’ve loved her in everything I’ve seen her in. She is given some of the worst lines in the entire film and what’s even worse is that she has absolutely no chemistry with her co-star Bradley Cooper who she is supposed to be romantically involved with.
Keeping Stone aside a lot of the film’s talented cast is wasted as well. Okay so Alec Baldwin is there to deliver a couple of, maybe three monologues but what about Bill Murray, John Krasinski and Rachel McAdams? Well they’re wasted. It’s disappointing how less Bill Murray has to do in this movie and John Krasinski who can be play that charming and oddly funny guy very well just isn’t given enough lines. In fact the whole point of his character is that he rarely speaks. Rachel McAdams does more, I guess but her entire sub-plot with Bradley Cooper’s character is poorly developed and then there’s this weird arc about the spirituality of Hawaii that is supposed to make you sentimental. It simply doesn’t work, rather adds to the awkward vibe this movie consistently exhibits.
Despite all these drawbacks Aloha isn’t a terrible movie by any standards and it definitely has it’s fair share of good moments, moments that remind you that this movie was in fact written by Cameron Crowe. I actually think that the movie gets better as the run-time progresses and towards the end you kinda wonder why they didn’t hit all these notes earlier but unfortunately it’s not enough to save the movie and by then you’re likely to have already checked out. I also think Bradley Cooper is very good in this movie. He is by far the highlight of the film and not only does he offer a very good performance but his character is the only character I could really care about at the end.
All in all though, Aloha is a pretty forgettable movie. It’s one of those movies that you’re probably gonna have an okay time watching but when it ends you’re going to decide never to see it again. The movie has some nice moments and Bradley Cooper does his best but the inconsistent and incoherent script really lets the film down and the film’s talented cast is largely wasted. Cameron Crowe, you better get your shit straight or I might just give up on you.