Film Review by Clayton Barnett
A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him.
Cameron Crowe is back with Aloha, along with his usual mix of hopeless romantics, earnest speeches and great music.
It’s been four years since the mawkish We Bought A Zoo, and a whopping 15 since his last good film (and one of my favourites), Almost Famous. Crowe’s Aloha sails a lot closer to Matt Damon’s animal farm than his autobiographical Oscar-winner, and it’s a shame as it feels like there’s a decent film buried somewhere in this hodgepodge romantic comedy. Something must have happened in the editing suite, as there are a lot of storylines squished into its 105 minute running time, with none of them given enough breathing space.
But there’s some star wattage to save it. Bradley Cooper flashes his bright blue eyes, and the love triangle of sorts between him Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone keeps the movie moving along at an easy pace. It’s all winsome smiles and endearing lines – Cooper utters a classic Crowism, “I just need someone to believe in me” at one stage – made all the more watchable with a cracking supporting cast. At some stages criminally underutilised, funnymen Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, Danny McBride and John Krasinski make welcome appearances through the film.
Too bad there’s only one real local cast in a movie set in Hawaii. A descendant of a former king, activist Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele gives some authenticity and voice to local frustrations of American rule. But it’s still pretty white on the night, with Emma Stone’s character, Allison Ng, supposedly a quarter Chinese and a quarter Hawaiian. I can suspend disbelief at the best of times but this was a bit much.
Being a Crowe flick you’ll want to hear what’s on the soundtrack. Featuring Crowe’s patented mix of 70’s rock and recent indie gems you’ve got The Who, Fleetwood Mac, David Crosby, Beck, Kurt Vile and Kodaline to name a few of the great tunes that pop up. Plus there’s a mix of traditional Hawaiian music - with Elvis’s Blue Hawaii of course - to balance it out.
Crowe hasn’t come back with a classic here, but if you can suspend disbelief for a bit you can make out a good Jerry Maguire-lite rom-com thanks to it’s A-list cast. And the soundtrack will keep the Crowe crowd appeased.
Releases: 4th June 2015
Duration: 105 minutes
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, Ivana Milicevic, John Krasinski, Jay Baruchel, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride
Director: Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, We Bought a Zoo)
Approximately early 2012 Ellen Degeneres bumped into Emma Stone (before she had officially met her) and Cameron Crowe at a restaurant and said "what ever you two do, it'll be great'.
This is the second time Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper starred together in a film. The first one was in the comedy film The Rocker (2008).
Bradley Cooper and Rachel McAdams originally starred together in Wedding Crashers (2005) together
This is Alec Baldwin's second time to be in a Cameron Crowe film. He was previously in Elizabethtown.
This is the third time Emma Stone has been in a film with one of the stars of The Office. She previously appeared in Crazy Stupid Love with Steve Carrell and The Rocker with Rainn Wilson (which also starred Bradley Cooper).