“Aloha” Review: Ref Souto found it to be a waste of time
“Aloha” is equal parts comedy, romance, drama and Hawaii history lesson, but it fails at convincingly delivering on any part. Despite having an excellent setting, amazing cast, and fantastic director this mess-of-a-film couldn’t be salvaged to the point that the incredibly incompetent Sony studio head (at the time) even called it a train wreck. It felt like we were watching director Cameron Crowe try his hand at making a Wes Anderson film, and the audience suffers because of it.
The basic plot is that lone wolf handsome man (Bradley Cooper) returns to Hawaii after a prolonged absence in order to do work for a man (Bill Murray) that abandoned him in his time of need. He runs into an overly quirky girl (Emma Stone) and his ex-fling from 13 years ago (Rachel McAdams). His ex-fling is currently married to an awkwardly silent/brooding guy (John Krasinski) and has two kids, one of which is 12 years old and looks suspiciously like our lead (GUESS WHERE THAT’S HEADING). Our lone wolf must come to terms with himself, and become a better man, in order to try to win back the woman he once loved instead of doing the right thing with the woman he does love, but will there be a happy ending?
Everything about this is over-the-top and cliché. While all the actors did well with what they were given, they were unfortunately given extreme caricatures to play. Cooper’s character is excessively lone wolf and cynical, Stone’s character is extremely optimistic and high spirits, and so forth and so on. Add to this the director hammers us with a very forced symbolism between the characters and ancient Hawaiin lore, and it serves no purpose other than filler and to make things awkward. “The wind is blowing….the Hawaiin Gods are happy.” If they cut out everything having to do with Hawaiin folk lore it would have leaned up the film considerably.
I really loved the scenery, and Hawaii is such a beautiful place, but instead of making the scenery a background character they smack you in the face with imagery over and over and over again. Do I still want to visit there? Of course, but I want nothing to do with any of the places these leads were at. Throw in a forced sub-plot involving potential terrorism, launching nuclear capable satellites into space in a way that somehow upsets the Hawaiin natives, and you have a mess of a film, with too many plot lines, and not enough direction to help us through it all.
As a whole all you can really say positive about this is that the cast was great, with what they had, and that Hawaii is beautiful. Nothing else works, and the forced sub plots and obvious studio edits turn this into an awful and boring experience. No tension. No believable chemistry. No reasonable explanation for how a child is able to infiltrate a top secret military base, and record with the most HD handheld camera I’ve ever seen, without getting in trouble. Cliché characters, predictable plot points, and a typical cheesy ending plague this from start to finish. 2/5