Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Hawaiian Indulgence


Sad but true, it isn’t what you should be saying to welcome Cameron Crowe’s Aloha. It’s what you should be screaming its way as you don’t buy a ticket for it or as you request a refund for it within the allowed 20 minutes to do so. Emphatically.

It’s not that Aloha is a terrible movie, although it is pretty bad wondering its a C2 joint starring Bradley Copper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, and Bill Murray, for cryin out loud. It’s just that there’s an even better one, an acceptable one, hiding behind the surface. Behind what we’ve actually gotten.

That is to say a mess of a story.

Seriously, I got sooo tired of trying to wrap my head around it I actually fell asleep a little there in the middle. I did that, so now you don’t have to.

Cooper stars as Brian Gilcrest, a self-described f----up of an erstwhile Top Gun – OK, at least I think that’s how he described himself at one point (I could have dreamt it, I guess...) – with a background so hazy and a mission so confusing it’s not worth it getting into it too much, trust. Suffice it to say that he arrives in Hawaii in his new defense-contractor role (for Murray’s character, his new old still-shady boss) to do som’in under the guise of doing som’in else, which is why he goes and meets with the Hawaiian nationalist elder Dennis “Bumpy Kanahele (who plays himself), to assure him he’s not doing the first thing he’s doing.

See? So silly and convoluted. And jackass-y, which is why there’s more to Brian, and that more comes in the shape of complicated past and new romantic entanglements.

Brian, don’t you know, used to date McAdams’ Tracy, but for whatever reason he called it quits on their relationship 13 years ago. She never saw him again (until now), and she picked up the pieces and moved on with Krasinski’s oh-so-stoic manly man, another pilot who adores her silently (’cause he’s so stoic). Now that he’s back on the island (yes, he used to be based in Hawaii...I think), though, Brian is forced unto the company of Allison Ng, the hot-shot Air Force pilot that Stone was asked to portray. That Allison’s heritage is as complicated a sell as the movie’s plot – if memory serves she’s a Hawaii daughter whose background includes a quarter Chinese and Swedish (clearly lots of Swedish) – shouldn’t come as a surprise or without controversy. Worse, that the character’s boundless manic-puppy peppiness will make you reconsider your fondness of the actress is inexcusable.

Anyway, as Brian is pulled into doing whatever the f--- it is that he’s in Hawaii to do (satellites and sacred lands are involved), he also must grapple with his heart’s old drama as he maybe opens it up to some of a fresher variety.

Except there’s very little drama in Aloha.

Brian and Tracy have the most civilized, cool conversations about their shared history (does Cameron Crowe not believe in messy confrontation?) and Brian and Allison, they are so milquetoast together that I just don’t even know, you know.

No, the drama in this one comes from a complete lack of focus and direction. It’s a shame that we will never really get what Crowe was trying to do with this one because I tell ya, there was something there. Alas, just not enough for the combined charisma of Cooper & Co.

And here I thought Mortdecai had come outta the gate the worst movie of the year....

My Rating *1/2

Photo: Sony Pictures.

No comments: