Aloha is an odd movie, especially coming from a predictably well respected filmmaker like Cameron Crowe. The trailers establish a fairly standard romantic dramedy. A disgraced military contractor, Brian Gilchrist (Bradley Cooper), returns to Hawaii, but his mission—get a satellite launched for billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray)—is complicated by Brian’s past. His ex-girlfriend, Tracy (Rachel McAdams), lives in Hawaii with her husband, Woody (a near-silent John Krasinski), and their two kids (Jaeden Lieberher from St. Vincent is great again).
Enter Capt. Allison Ng (Emma Stone), a quarter-Hawaiian, quarter-Chinese fighter pilot as love interest. Yes, Stone is supposed to be Asian. The trailer does not even hint at the subplot, where Carson Welch turns out to be a wannabe James Bond villain. At a brisk 105 minutes, all the scenes that made Aloha make sense must have wound up on the cutting-room floor.
Watching the film devolves into a series of “huhs” and “whats.” Crowe has really been struggling since the almost universally adored Almost Famous, and Aloha is hopefully the trough from which the guy who gave us Say Anything… and Jerry Maguire reemerges. Aloha may mean hello and goodbye, but you should avoid saying it at all to the box office attendant, who might get the impression you want a ticket.