Australian music group Mondo Rock once sang ‘if the chemistry is right’. Sadly director Cameron Crowe obviously didn’t hear their song as his script features hardly any. You can’t blame the actors as they can only portray what they’ve been given. Despite good intentions, Aloha is a cinematic misfire mostly devoid of anything truly engaging.
Brian (Bradley Cooper) is a military contractor assigned to the US space program in Hawaii. Escorted by no-nonsense Air-Force pilot Allison (Emma Stone), he sets about his tasks. When former flame Tracy (Rachel McAdams) re-enters his life, his mind goes into a tailspin. His growing attraction to Allison sends Brian’s existence into free-fall. Confused by his feelings, he has to choose between two women who have enslaved his tortured heart.
Filled with over-acting, self-indulgence and poor direction, Aloha completely fails as a romantic comedy. Whilst some aspects gain interest, these are almost instantly negated by a clumsily written narrative. You are never sure of a character’s actions with the main love triangle feeling forced. The performers seem lost as to how to play their roles with Stone especially guilty of poor acting. The rambling story stumbles to a shuddering climax making little sense, showing little of its early promise.
Despite these lacklustre qualities, it can’t be denied Hawaii is beautifully shot. Somewhat a love-letter to its lush locale, the movie digs deep into the spiritual motifs its native inhabitants live by. This brings some diversion to the pedestrian screenplay and badly executed humour. Crowe should have maintained better focus on telling an interesting tale than filming pointless scenes failing to blend into the other.
Aloha is a messy affair occasionally making some sense. It never really takes off as the leaden pacing enhances its issues. Those looking for any chemistry from its supposed romantically-inclined characters are better off watching better love stories than this one.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 3