Nine. “Aloha” is only said nine times in Aloha, which-when you think about it-is pretty amazing restraint. However, the fact that I was disinterested enough in what was going on with the plot to keep a running “Aloha” tally, doesn’t bespeak well of the whole endeavor.
Cameron Crowe has made two of my favorite movies in Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous. He also has not made a good movie SINCE Almost Famous and that was a very long time ago. He’s assembled amazing casts, he takes his time with his projects, but after Elizabethtown, We Built a Zoo and now Aloha, I have a feeling we’ve seen the end of his attempts at a comeback and that makes me truly sad.
This is not an awful movie. It’s not painful. It just….is. The plot is rom-com predictable with a lot of annoying Hawaiian mysticism thrown in and a kind of preachy message about not weaponizing space. If that sounds like a hodgepodge, well then you’re not the target audience for Aloha (in fairness, I’m not sure there is one).
Bradley Cooper plays a contractor returning home to Hawaii, where he has a past in the form of an ex-girlfriend (Rachel McAdams) who is struggling in her marriage to a nearly mute military man (John Krasinski). He’s falling for his Air Force liaison (Emma Stone) and this all ends up pretty much how you think it’s going to if you can extrapolate any kind of narrative from what I just set up.
The most buzz around this movie centers on Emma Stone’s character, Captain Allison Ng, who has an Asian last name, but Emma Stone is about the least Asian-looking woman on the face of the Earth. She reminds us that she is ¼ Hawaiian about as many times as the word “Aloha” is used, and some ethnic groups are taking umbrage with her casting causing Cameron Crowe to actually take responsibility and apologize for it. Emma Stone is, by far, the most endearing and interesting character in this film, and she does mention that the rest of her is Swedish (how that looks on a gene chart is beyond my scientific ken). It seems like controversy for controversy’s sake, and the fact of the matter is, no one is going to remember this film a week from now, let alone have it be a bone of contention throughout the annals of cinema.
When it hits Netflix in about four months (start a betting pool), it’s fine to blow two hours watching something cute and predictable, if annoyingly cloying at times. But I’ve seen what Cameron Crowe can do, and this-for him-is shoddy.