Until a few months before its release, Aloha was known only as Untitled Cameron Crowe Project. It’s not the first time in his career that Crowe has struggled to name a project, but his endless indecision in this case symbolises the complete mess that Aloha is: a film that fits no genre, will please no audience and has no purpose on this earth.
While it’s unlikely that many people will enjoy watching this 115-minute mess, the fun had by all involved in its making is clear to see. Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams lead the cast, with Bill Murray, John Krasinski and Alec Baldwin sticking their heads in. Sounds great, right? Hawaiian setting, pleasant soundtrack, talented actors. But it’s pretty miserable. There’s no coherent story, with an absurd subplot about nuclear strategising that leads to an unexpectedly dark escalation in tone in the final act. The characters are disgracefully one-dimensional, with Cooper wasted as a soulless version of his American Sniper and Stone reduced to a few hair flicks and a constantly repeated Hawaiian backstory. It isn’t funny, it isn’t moving and it’s nothing new. It has none of the wit of Woody Allen’s recent “destination movies” nor the poignancy of Crowe’s best work. Alexander Payne captured the lifestyle of wealthy Americans living in Hawaii brilliantly in The Descendants, and reaped the rewards.
This film signals that Crowe’s career may very much be over. No wonder he took his name off the title.