As busy as my week was, and as much as I wanted to take a week off from writing reviews, I felt it was my duty to review ALOHA, written and directed by Cameron Crowe (ALMOST FAMOUS, JERRY MAGUIRE). Unfortunately, it’s not because I liked the movie. In fact, it’s because I was so disappointed in this movie that I felt the need to write this.
Don’t be fooled by its fantastic trailer, ALOHA is a terrible movie. There were rumblings of trouble when leaked e-mails from former Sony studio head, Amy Pascal, flat-out stated that the movie was awful and she regretted funding it. However, I always try to go into a movie thinking positively. After all how could this movie possibly be bad since it stars many of my favorite actors, was written/directed by Cameron Crowe, and was filmed in one of the most beautiful locations imaginable, Hawaii. ‘Even if the movie is terrible,’ I thought, ‘There is no way I am not going to love this movie. It is everything I love in a film.’ Oh how wrong and naïve I was.
I knew we were in trouble when the film starts off somehow making me annoyed by my fav, Emma Stone. Thankfully over the span of the movie, her overacting, type-A fighter pilot transitions into the typical likable Stone role but we were on shaky ground for a bit. And things only go down from there. The dialogue is incredibly unrealistic, consisting of cheesy, cringe-worthy lines that real people do not say. Think of it like DAWSON’S CREEK syndrome, except less entertaining.
Then there’s the plodding, confusing storyline, which basically involves a shady company, led by Carson Welch (Bill Murray), attempting to weaponize space without the U.S. government’s knowledge. Under the watchful eye of fighter pilot Allison Ng (Emma Stone), Brian Gilchrest (Bradley Cooper), an employee of the company, has returned to his old Hawaiian stomping ground to get the local populations’ blessing for building a pedestrian bridge that will (I think) somehow allow rockets to be launched more easily. Honestly, this whole part of the script was so incredibly confusing, I spent a good portion of my movie-viewing time trying to figure out what was going on, and was thus taken out of the movie.
Oh yeah, and then there is this whole ridiculous subplot of Brian reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), who has since married John (John Krasinski). The first time they see each other, Brian and Tracy steal furtive glances… while the body of a fallen soldier is unloaded off of a plane. I wish I were kidding. A completely predictable “twist” in the movie, which was telegraphed the second we are introduced to Tracy’s family, makes their storyline even more eyeroll-worthy than entertaining.
I know this is a movie, but there were so many factual inaccuracies and ridiculous, illogical plot points, it was hard not to laugh. Yes, I am being picky about some plot points since this is what I do for a living, but a simple Google search about the Outer Space Treaty would’ve maybe added clarity. For example, why the hell is a fighter pilot… A FIGHTER PILOT… being tasked as a glorified babysitter, and for a space launch mission no less? It’s also confusing what supposed role the U.S. government has in these private satellite launches. It’s hard to believe that an involved United States wouldn’t [SPOILER] realize there is a weapon hidden in the rocket. And don’t even get me started on the end of the movie when Tracy’s daughter gleefully becomes aware that Brian is her real dad. What child (or adult for that matter) would cry happy tears when she discovers the man who has been pretending to be her father for her entire life really isn’t, and that her absentee father has finally reappeared in time to watch her dance the hula. Okay, I got a little specific there at the end, but come on. Maybe she was crying happy tears because her father is Bradley Cooper, but good grief.
The only positive thing I can say about the movie is that Crowe, like always, has a fantastic soundtrack. It was especially fun when Bill Murray and Emma Stone danced to Hall and Oats’ “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” in the Officers’ Club; easily the best part of the movie. I will also give him props for somehow wrangling an all-star cast of Hollywood’s most likeable actors. But should I then be mad at him because he wasted all of this talent?
Bottom line: Don’t trust ALOHA’s trailer, with its awesome music, beautiful locale, and all-star cast. The Cameron Crowe who could get audiences to theaters on name recognition alone is no more. I wrote this article to implore you to spend your money elsewhere this weekend, like on MAD MAX or EX-MACHINA. I think Hall and Oats’ aptly described my feelings about ALOHA when they said, “I can’t go for that…” and neither should you.
My Review: D for complete disappointment.