A review of “Aloha,” starring Bradley Cooper, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone and John Krasinski — to no avail. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
Where’d you go, Cameron Crowe? “Aloha,” the writer/director’s latest sort-of romantic comedy, limps to the screen with such flat-footedness, you wonder how its creator ever achieved such heights as “Say Anything” and “Almost Famous.” Its highlight, I’m sorry to say, is a moment in which an irate Alec Baldwin (maybe he just read the script?) addresses Bradley Cooper as “Mr. Three-Day Beard Boy.” This is rather delicious, to be sure — I may never look at Cooper and his movie-star fuzz again without hearing Baldwin thundering — but really, is that all there is?
Anyway, here we have Cooper as Brian Gilcrest, a pleasantly stubble-y military contractor who returns to Hawaii on business, both the regular and the unfinished kind. The regular business involves Bill Murray as a puckishly unshaven (am I sensing a theme here?) gazillionaire industrialist who’s Brian’s boss; the unfinished business centers on Tracy (Rachel McAdams), the Girl Who Got Away some 13 years ago. She’s now married to a cuddly silent type named Woody (John Krasinski), but her 12-year-old daughter bears an uncanny resemblance, we’re unsubtly informed, to Brian. Meanwhile, fighter pilot and military captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), assigned to baby-sit Brian during his mission, falls for him, which she expresses primarily by calling him “sir” a lot.
This is a lot of plot, and virtually none of it is believable, even considering the heft of this cast — you’d think this gang could make anything sing, wouldn’t you? But Krasinski literally has nothing to say, right up to a ridiculous late scene involving subtitles; McAdams relies entirely on adorable smiles, lip-biting and eye-twinkling (even when she’s supposed to be upset); a mostly absent Murray lights up only when singing “The Wheels on the Bus” (which, to be fair, he nails); and Stone, making Captain Ng cartoonishly precise and uptight, demonstrates to us that yes, she’s capable of a bad performance. (Et tu, Emma?) And Cooper, eyes wide, marches through the cuteness, making the best of a bad situation.
Movie Review ★½
‘Aloha,’ with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe. 100 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments. Several theaters.
All this, plus some dialogue that’s occasionally “50-Shades-of-Grey”-without-the-sex-bad (“I don’t want to wind up a decal on your laptop,” says poor Captain Ng, earnestly), and the result is a movie that’s well-meaning but nearly unwatchable. Stay home and watch a better Crowe movie instead, and ponder what went wrong.