I won’t dwell on this too much, but I almost don’t have a choice to mention that I’m aware that mine is a minority opinion, the vast majority of American critics having seemingly hated “Aloha”. That being said, I’m under the impression that several of them made up their mind in advance because of the negative buzz, which was due to the blatant lack of confidence displayed by the studio, which notably didn’t organize press screenings. Add the fact that a lot of critics are allergic to whimsy and sentimentality, and it was totally predictable that the film would be torn apart.
All I can say is that while “Aloha” isn’t perfect, it’s still pure Cameron Crowe: funny, touching, quirky, bright and colorful. I loved it.
The main thing that keeps it from being one of my favorites of his is the rather messy storytelling, which spends a bit too much time on stuff I don’t really care about, like the football in “Jerry Maguire” or the damn running shoe in “Elizabethtown”.
Here, we’re stuck with a plot right out of a James Bond flick, with a megalomaniac billionaire (Bill Murray) who wants to send a weaponized satellite in space, with the help of Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a former NASA employee turned mercenary…
But of course, as in every Crowe film, what really interests us is the relationships between the characters, who also include in this case Brian’s ex (Rachel McAdams), her husband (John Krasinski) and their kids (Danielle Rose Russell and Jaeden Lieberher) as well as a U.S. Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) assisting him.
As directed by Crowe, all the actors in the wonderful cast (which also features Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride) are full of charm and humor, and it’s with delight that we watch as the cynical Gilcrest is reunited with his former flame after 13 years apart, while developing a fling with the chirpy young pilot.
All of that unfolds with the superb Hawaii landscape as a backdrop and, of course, to the sound of a sensational soundtrack featuring an original score by Jónsi & Alex (the band of the Sigur Rós singer and his boyfriend), traditional Hawaiian music and songs by The Who, David Crosby, Fleetwood Mac, Tears for Fears and others.
“Aloha” is full of whimsy and sentimentality, sure. No, it’s not a particularly subtle or innovative picture. But there are so many hilarious lines and memorable moments!
How can you not love a film that includes a scene where Bill Murray and Emma Stone dance to Hall & Oates’ I Can’t Go For That?