Aloha is the latest film from writer-director Cameron Crowe, the man who spent over $3.5 million on the soundtrack for Almost Famous, so take that comment as you will. While most people love him, there's a certain few that, well, don't. If you're one of those people who don't love him, Aloha is not a film for you. If you're one of those people who do love him, like myself, then this film could go either way for you. Once the film had finished, I got up and asked myself "would I still have enjoyed that if it didn't have Cameron Crowe's name all over it?" This is a hard question to answer, but for now, I'm going to leave the answer as a maybe.
The film follows the story of Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a military contractor who's life has fallen to pieces. He's been hospitalised and he's depressed, so taking a job in Hawaii seemed like a good idea. At least it was until he got there, where Brian meets up with his ex-girlfriend and previous love of his life, Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams), as well as being assigned to work with optimistic fighter pilot, Ng (Emma Stone). As it is with most Cameron Crowe movies, the characters debate about the state of their lives, some romance ensures and there's some heavy handed monologues in which characters say prophetic words. It's clichéd, but it's fun.
When you go into a Cameron Crowe movie, whether it's Say Anything or Almost Famous or whatever it is, you know exactly what you're getting into. It's part chick-flick, part dude-flick, and Crowe usually blends them seamlessly. With Aloha, this seamlessness isn't quite as seamless as it should've been. In fact, the film is all over the place, horridly blending plot lines here and there, resulting in one big mess of a movie. Plot lines fly in and out, none really staying long enough to matter.
Thankfully, we don't have Crowe to blame for this film's messiness. Just like with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we're forced to blame Sony. I don't want to hate on the film company, but I must point out how frustrating it is to see them constantly cutting up and ruining movies. For all we know, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 could've been a great film. I saw the potential. I've seen the same potential in this movie. To be honest though, I liked Aloha. It's a complete mess, but it's an entertaining one, and for that I'm thankful.
Strangely, it's not the writing or the directing that made this film for me. Both of them have been better before, although that's not at all me saying that they're bad. Cameron Crowe does a terrific job. It's just that the performances stood out so much more. Featuring the likes of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill freaking Murray, Alec Baldwin and so many more a-listers, this film is full of talent, and not one of them fails to be great. They all nail their roles, even if some of their roles aren't really too clear. I mean, why the heck was Bill Murray in this movie? I'm not complaining, I'm just not sure.
The central plot of the film revolves around Bradley Cooper's character, particularly his relationship with Emma Stone's character, who of course serves as a romantic interest because why not? They're great and all, but their scenes are never quite as interesting or entertaining as the ones he shares with Rachel McAdams' character, who's husband, played by John Krasinski, steals the show. This is most evident in the final scene he shares with Cooper. It's a scene so unexpected and brilliant, and it's easily the best scene in the film.
But no matter how many great individual moments there are, the whole thing just feels so familiar. There's always a sort of "been there, done that" vibe to it all, and yes, the plot is completely predictable too. As soon as we're introduced to certain characters, Crowe has made it incredibly obvious what their fates will be. You know what the outcome of the film will be and you know exactly how they're going to get there. Sure, you'll be asking yourself "what the actual fuck is going on right now?" but it's still an entertaining two hours nonetheless.
To sum up, Aloha dwells in completely familiar territory, but thanks to Cameron Crowe's (mostly) excellent direction and brilliant performances from all the leads, Aloha manages to work really well, even if it's a complete mess in terms of plot.