- on Friday, 29 May 2015 13:33
- by Frank Wilkins
Fittingly, the Hawaiian word “Aloha” – which is the title for writer/director Cameron Crowe’s latest film – has become synonymous with the English greeting for both “hello” and “good bye.” As in “hello" to the end of Cameron Crowe’s do-no-wrong run of meaningful films and good bye to a once brilliant career that peaked in 2000 with his touching Almost Famous. The guy has shown little of the charm, spark, and emotional resonance he became known for in 1989’s Say Anything and 1996’s Jerry Maguire. A string of roadside flotsam ever since shows that he’s struggling with some form of writer’s block and can’t get anything meaningful or entertaining to the big screen.
It’s fitting that the widescreen disaster flick San Andreas, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is playing down the way as Aloha can be the perfect alternative for those who prefer their disaster flicks a little less loud. Aloha is quiet, but a disaster nonetheless.
The strong cast of heavyweights is wasted on the messy story that has Bradley Cooper as Brian Gilcrist, a celebrated veteran who returns from service to the site of of his greatest career triumph – the US space program in Honolulu, Hawaii. There he becomes the main negotiator between islanders and billionaire private space explorer Carson Welch (Bill Murray) who is looking to launch a top-secret satellite into space against the wishes of the island’s locals. There’s a weak thread that approaches some of the multi-dimensional themes Crowe typically reaches for, but he unfortunately falls short of his own bar as the thread is never allowed to completely gestate. It involves negotiations between Brian and the spiritual leader of the indigenous Hawaiian movement that juxtapose the rigor of the island’s military presence against the soulful qualities of the indigenous Hawaiian people. It’s a huge missed opportunity.
Naturally, this is all to set up the point of human conflict – something Crowe loves to do– which involves the fortuitous meeting between Brian and long lost girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams) who is now married to strong and silent Air Force pilot Woody (John Krasinski) and is mother to two beautiful children. And if things weren’t already complicated enough, there’s the saucy F-22 Air Force Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone) who is assigned as Brian’s caretaker and with whom he falls in love. Stone is visually delightful as the hot shot pilot and knocks us dead in her perfectly creased Air Force side cap, but this will unfortunately end her near unprecedented run of great roles. She’s just not good enough here to rise above the abysmal content she’s given to work with.
It’s difficult to know exactly what Crowe was going for with Aloha, but with faint notes about getting second chances at life and fighting off the lure of the past to see the promise of the future, it seems the filmmaker isn’t shying away from the heady topics he’s never been afraid to tackle. It’s just too bad he misses his target so badly with this mind-numbingly dull and corny story about single-noted characters that never muster even the slightest spark of emotion or romantic interest. But with the beautiful Hawaiian scenery providing a lush backdrop to the proceedings, doesn’t the film look good?
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments.
Runtime: 105 mins
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone
Genre: Comedy | Romance
Memorable Movie Quote: "You were going to wear this uniform lieke Flava Flave wears a clock"
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing (2015) (USA) (theatrical)
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/aloha/
Release Date: May 29, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: A 37-year-old disgraced US weapons consultant named Brian Gilcrest is disliked by most everyone. His only friend is a techie named Jeremy "a super-smart and highly aware computer". As a response to aggression from China, Gilcrest is deployed to a dormant military base in Hawaii to supervise the launch of an advanced spy satellite. Together with the anal and humorless Major Lisa Ng, he must secure the blessings of the native Hawaiian council before the launch. Gilcrest also gets a chance to meet with Tracy, the one love of his life who got away, along with her husband and two kids. On the island he discovers himself.
No details available.