Sometimes even I am too tired to watch a movie with subtitles. I picked Aloha on demand because it wasn’t too long, basically. Wow, what a mess of a movie. I knew it had gotten lots of bad press because of the whitewashing casting of Emma Stone in a character that is supposed to be a quarter Hawaiian and part Chinese , Captain Allison Ng. Cameron Crowe has made some really fantastic films, but lately he seems to have lost his way.
My issues with the film are beyond the whitewashing, but why Cameron Crowe didn’t just make Emma Stone’s step-father Hawaiian or something, I don’t know. She’s supposed to be a believer in Hawaiian legends and superstitions in the plot. I guess he based the character on a real red-headed Hawaiian woman, but he should have seen the controversy coming.
But moving on from that, there were plenty of times in the movie where I could not figure out what was going on. This is basically a rom-com dramedy and I couldn’t figure out why the main characters were acting the way they were. There were some shining moments to the film, especially the performances. Crowe assembled a great ensemble cast. Rachel McAdams is military contractor Bradley Cooper’s ex-girlfriend. The always great Bill Murray is Cooper’s wealthy eccentric boss, and I just loved him in this. John Krasinski is Rachel McAdam’s military pilot silent stoic husband, and I just adored his performance especially.
I wish the film had been from the perspective of either of the central women figures in the script, because I was most interested in their stories. But of course, this is Cameron Crowe, so it’s all about the journey and perspective of messed-up-and-at-a-life-crossroad Bradley Cooper. He can’t move on to a romance with Emma Stone until he resolves his issues with ex-girlfriend Rachel McAdams.
The complicated confusing plot about launching a satellite that might have weapons and all is incidental to each actor getting a little flourish of an acting moment. While there were some scenes that were brilliant, the whole didn’t hold together.
You, dear reader, are unlikely to watch this film, so I’m spoiling the ending because it annoyed me so much. Rachel McAdams and Cooper broke up 13 years ago when he did not show up for an important weekend vacation. She has a 12 year old daughter and had married John Krasinski shortly after the breakup. Yep. Everyone does the math. The final scene shows Bradley Cooper looking through a window at his daughter in her hula dance class. She looks out and he beams and nods. The young actress is great in doing what Crowe asked her to do — look surprised, then tearily happy, as she runs out to give Cooper a hug and then run back to class. Really?? A pre-teen girl figures out that the father she’s known her entire life is not her real father, and this near stranger just nods at her and it’s all good? Yeahhhh, I don’t think so! She doesn’t first think, hey it’s creepy that this old friend of my mom is staring at me? Or have any anger at her mother or him? Of course not, because her part in this movie is just to tie up Bradley Cooper’s character’s life up with a pretty bow.
I did like the Hawaiian setting. My in-laws used to have a house in Hawaii, and there are not enough movies set there and celebrating what’s unique about it.