Michael C here to try to make sense of what I just watched. Cameron Crowe’s Aloha is one of the most bewildering cinematic experiences in recent memory.
Gone is the filmmaker behind Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire that could gracefully execute romantic gestures grand enough to capsize lesser movies. Gone even is the maker of follies like Elizabethtown who missed the mark by a mile but at least left a coherent mess in his wake. In his place is a guy that can barely scrape together a moment of believable human interaction in Aloha’s 105 minute running time. Crowe is so besotted with his notions of spiritual uplift against a mystical Hawaiian backdrop, so dizzy with big statements about life and love and redemption, that he appears to have lost his bearings completely. Aloha’s outpouring of emotion is fed into the malfunctioning machinery of the screenplay and spat out the other end as gobbledygook.
Bradley Cooper plays Brian Gilcrest, a cynic with a heart of gold in the Jerry Maguire mold. Gilcrest is a soldier coming off a series of vague professional disasters given the cushy task of obtaining a blessing from some native Hawaiians so the army can relocate an ancient burial ground (I think). Returning to Hawaii means seeing the girlfriend he ran out on eighteen years ago (Rachel McAdams) and her new family. Gilcrest is escorted on this mission by spunky young fighter pilot played by Emma Stone. The pairing generates all the romantic sparks of a guy babysitting his rambunctious younger cousin on a weekend road trip.