Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Cameron Crowe is a genius whether it be writing Romantic Comedies or Dramas. Things took-off rather quickly in 1989 with his directorial debut, the classic Say Anything and in his latest effort Aloha, he certainly shows no signs of slowing down.
Aloha focuses on Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a former Military Man-turned-Military Contractor as he returns to Hawaii where his contracting days first began. However in Hawaii is also his Ex-Wife (Rachel McAdams), the Woman who left him because he was so engrossed with work that he would create other work to avoid focusing on their relationship. Gilcrest’s entire purpose in Hawaii is to get Global One’s Gate proposal approved by the Hawaiians and blessed. Global One is run by Carson Welch (Bill Murray), the Man employing Gilcrest and hoping that he can get the job done at any cost.
Upon arriving in Hawaii, he runs into his former colleague, Fingers/Colonel Lacy (Danny McBride) who informs him that he has been assigned a watchdog, Allison Ng (Emma Stone). Aloha embodies the happiness that can be found in such a magical place such as Hawaii, while also exploring the human condition and faults of falling in love and having your heart broken. The overarching question that is posed throughout the Film is whether Gilcrest should continue placing work first or will he finally listen to his heart and let it be free?
The Film works on many levels but few can deny the performances are fantastic. Cooper continues to show his range, nailing it as the romantic Leading Man and elicits great chemistry with both Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone. The Audience is left guessing whom he winds-up choosing. Moreover, McAdams as the heartbroken Ex-Wife and frustrated Wife of Woody (John Krasinski), embodies the Role with perfection. On the other end of the spectrum, Murray plays the cool-headed, scheming Billionaire effortlessly and convincingly. As well, Stone plays the upbeat (to a fault at times) Cadet to a tee, always exuding energy throughout. Lastly, Alex Baldwin (General Dixon) plays the infuriated General with conviction and delivers that much-needed near Comic Relief when Aloha requires it the most.
The problems with the Script lie in plodding spiritual Subplots in the Movie, focusing on figuring the meaning of the sky. It is said that Hawaiians believe that the sky is sacred land and cannot be taken away from them or havoc will ensue, making them reluctant on the idea of agreeing to the blessing of the Gate. This prompts Gilcrest to a cut a deal which leads to the road of moral dilemmas. Other than this, Aloha works on every other level and gives us a refreshing break from the onslaught of Blockbusters.
Sony Pictures Canada release Aloha in theatres Friday May 29, 2015.