Sunday, 24 January 2016


This review includes a plot twist.

As revealed in the Sony hacking scandal, Sony hated this film. They cared so little about Aloha that they released it in America at the end of May, jarring with its Christmas setting. Then of course there was the "whitewashing" controversy, concerning Emma Stone playing a one-quarter Hawaiian and one-quarter Chinese character. No wonder why this film was quietly released to VOD in the UK.

Director Cameron Crowe is best known for the likes of Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire, classics in the field of rom-coms, but Aloha has succeeded in being a romantic comedy that is both desperately unromantic and stunningly unfunny. Its casting is designed to blind you at the first instance; Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, all famous faces used to disguise a half baked script.

Bradley Cooper plays Brian Gilchrist, a military contractor, who has come to Hawaii to negotiate with the Hawaiian people in relation to a satellite that is due to be sent into orbit, privately funded by billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray). This is my first major contention for this film, as Welch seems more like a nefarious Bond bad guy, as he wants to install an illegal nuclear weapon in space (similar to Reagan's Star Wars program), while being played by a completely uninterested Murray. In any other film this would be a fascinating, if outrageous, major plot point, however this is merely the background to the relationship between the disillusioned Gilchrist and the enthusiastic Allison Ng (Stone).

Gilchrist's and Ng's romance is what ruins a potentially entertaining political conspiracy. Of course, this film is meant to be a romance, but so unconvincing is Cooper and Stone's chemistry that by the time Gilchrist says he loves Ng, it's out of nowhere and quite creepy. Even the bombshell that Gilchrist is the father of ex-partner Tracey's (McAdams) 13 year old daughter is treated with not nearly enough gravitas as it deserves, and their reunion scene, though reticent, is completely redundant.

Ultimately, what makes this film bad is its lack of coherence. Nothing feels convincing, and you are left to try and piece together a film from the various ramblings that the characters have. Even Tracey's young son has that movie-child problem of sounding too adult and almost inappropriate. And shamefully, for all the effort that is put into making the history and culture of Hawaii a part of this film, it almost feels like its an outsider at its own party. What is left is a witless comedy from a director who could do with stretching out of his comfort zone.



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