Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Aloha’ Review: Starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone & Rachel McAdams

Cameron Crowe’s Aloha may not be the worst movie I’ve seen so far this year but it is certainly the most disappointing. I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie and thought that every single actor was wasted. And with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and John Krasinski being the top cast in Aloha that says a lot right there. How Crowe’s screenplay could waste these fine actors is beyond me. I will try to forget the fact that Cameron Crowe wrote and directed Jerry Maguire, one of my favorite romances ever, as I write my review.

Aloha follows the story of Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a military contractor who returns to Hawaii to execute an important project. The military has uptight and super-pumped Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone) watch Brian while he is on assignment. Soon after he lands, Brian runs into an old girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), who is now married to Air Force pilot Woody (John Krasinski) and has two kids. Between still having a romantic connection to Tracy and figuring out how he truly feels about Allison, Brian finds himself in a love triangle.

Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride also round out the cast of supporting characters, though they aren’t given much to do. The screenplay falls solely on Cooper’s shoulders and Stone’s unique charm, but Crowe’s story is unsure of what it wants to be. There is a plot point that frequently comes up in the film and it’s supposed to be about Hawaiian culture and their beliefs but it just comes off is strange and weird.

The entire cast feels wasted, even Cooper and Stone who are the leads of the film. Besides one scene where Stone has an incredibly sweet and fun dance off with Bill Murray, the rest of Aloha is dull, confusing and boring. And I cannot believe I am saying that about a movie where these actors are involved. Crowe’s script feels totally forced and unnatural. Cooper and Stone don’t seem to have any real chemistry, with the script forcing them together over any natural connection. At times, I think even Cooper was wondering what he was doing on this project.

There are cringe-worthy scenes in the film included one where Cooper and McAdams swoon over each other during a military casket ceremony and another when Cooper awkwardly meets a family member for the first time. I will avoid saying anything else to avoid spoilers if perhaps you do pay for a ticket to see this in the movie theatre.

The cinematography by Eric Gautier (2014’s Grace of Monaco) does capture the beauty of Hawaii from the small villages in the mountains to the gorgeous beaches and blue water and the production design appropriately addresses the setting of the movie. That’s one good thing right there.

Even if you’re crazy for Cameron Crowe or wild for Bradley Cooper, Aloha is a film that is best worth a rental on Netflix or could frankly be skipped overall. The screenplay is one of the messiest of the year and the actors are floating aimlessly in the Hawaiian breeze trying to figure out what they are doing in this picture.

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