Cary, NC — Aloha is the latest from writer/director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous). I am a huge fan of Crowe. Jerry Maguire is one of my all time favorite romantic comedies, and Almost Famous is a masterpiece.
Although Aloha doesn’t reach the height of either of those great films, the movie is a lighthearted and entertaining anecdote to all the huge blockbusters flooding theaters right now.
Great Leads Save the Day
A movie like this lives or dies depending on its cast. If we don’t care about or don’t like the characters who are supposed to be falling in love, then the movie doesn’t work, plain and simple.
Thankfully, Crowe has assembled quite an ensemble. Bradley Cooper plays a former Military officer-turned private contractor who is in Hawaii on assignment, and Emma Stone is the hotshot recruit assigned to be his chauffeur. At first, it seems the two couldn’t be more different, but, well, you know. Predictable as it might be, the two leads have great chemistry.
A good chunk of the film is just these two characters talking and getting to know each other, and that’s when the film is at its best. I greatly enjoyed watching them banter and bicker with each other. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Crowe wisely takes advantage of his gorgeous location. The film actually has quite a lot to say about Hawaii in general, and about its native people, as it delves deeply into local legends and myths along the way.
Wastes Supporting Cast
Unfortunately, this leads to one of the films biggest problems as well.
The main plot of the film, dealing with privatizing space, is unnecessarily complicated. As I mentioned earlier, the film works best when Crowe is focusing on his main characters and letting the audience hang out with them. The same could be said for Crowe’s best movies as well.
But, in Aloha, there is an awful lot of time spent dealing with Cooper’s job, and it never leads anywhere interesting. It’s a small quibble but one worth mentioning.
The film’s biggest sin, however, is wasting its amazing cast of supporting actors. There’s Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), John Krasinski (The Office), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and the one and only Bill Murray. There is a pretty significant plot point with McAdams’ character that I won’t spoil here, but, like the central plot, there isn’t the significant payoff that the film tries to go for.
Everyone else does their best, of course, but there just isn’t enough for these talented performers to do. I mean, you don’t waste Bill Murray. You just don’t.
Still, I had fun with Aloha. Stars Cooper and Stone are infinitely likeable. And, despite my concerns, I still found myself rooting for these two to end up together.
That’s a win for any romantic comedy in my book. So yes, go see Aloha, and cleanse your palette of all the mega-blockbusters this summer.
Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.