One thing I can say for “Aloha” is that it’s a beautiful film. If you put it on mute and watch it the whole way through, you can at least appreciate the lovely sights of Hawaii and Emma Stone, with her piercing large eyes, and adorable lisp that rival anything in Hawaii. With the volume on, it’s a horrendous mess that Cameron Crowe bungles up. It’s jumbled, hard to follow, and ultimately feels like three pretty mediocre movies mashed in to one trifecta of incoherence, sugar coated by a great cast, a killer soundtrack, and wonderful cinematography.
One movie is about a man who lost touch with his past who might sell out to a billionaire whose private satellite project may or may not be housing nuclear warheads. The second movie is about an ex military veteran falling in love with a soldier in her prime, who helps him re-discover his love for Hawaii. The third movie is about a man re-connecting with the love of his life and accidentally becoming a wedge in a seemingly perfect marriage with her, her stoic military bound husband, and their two well meaning kids. All three movies mash up in to this incomprehensible feast of meandering storylines, and unresolved sub-plots. Not to mention, Crowe delivers a ham fisted plot twist in the finale that I not only had trouble swallowing, but felt like a last ditch effort to inject some sense of tension in a movie wholly bereft of it. Even with a plot about nuclear warheads, private satellites, and top secret military bases, “Aloha” feels listless, and absolutely limp from starting gate.
All three movies Crowe writes in to his long and tedious script seem to be battling for dominance, constantly throwing plot elements at us involving screaming military superiors, shady soldiers, and endless diatribes about Hawaiian folklore, as well as some bafflingly moronic moments. It’s clear everyone here is on auto pilot, from John Krasinski who barely has a character, right down to Bill Murray who seems to be in the movie just to be Bill Murray for a total of five short scenes. Rachel McAddams is also poorly cast, and given a non-character to play, as the ghost of character Brian Gilcrest’s past, who only exists to tease at Cooper’s character constantly, and then deliver a really clunky surprise that has no rhyme or reason for even being included.
Crowe’s script is awful, as he peppers a lot of the film with nonsensical soliloquy’s, and palaver all meant to add some sense of existentialism that’s utterly misplaced and awkward. The only really redeemable aspect of “Aloha” is Emma Stone who, despite playing an Asian (?), is quite charismatic and charming in her role as the spunky military brat who should have been given so much more to do than act as a prop for Cooper’s character to bounce dialogue off of. Cooper himself is fine, even if he doesn’t sell the character of a burnt out shell of a man. Characters laughably make repeated remarks about how worn out and pale he looks. If Cooper’s incredible complexion, and fit body is the definition of worn out and pale, I’d hate to see what Crowe considers healthy and fit. “Aloha” is a lifeless and tepid dramedy confused about what story or message it’s trying to convey. Even Crowe’s worst movies have some kind of message behind them. “Aloha” just slogs along for a hundred minutes and ends without a single insight.