Directed By: Cameron Crowe

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin

Unexpectedly bad movies are the worst.  It's a game of expectations that we've all lost.  You go into the theater expecting a halfway decent movie at a minimum.  Instead, you get nothing but garbage for your time and money.  When you expect very little at the box office, a movie can either meet your expectations by sucking or exceed them by pleasantly surprising you with quality entertainment.  When it comes to this weekend's Aloha, it's a little of both these scenarios for me.  With the likes of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, and so many more esteemed actors teaming up, I thought that there had to be some spark of movie magic here.  At the same time, I recognize that Cameron Crowe has been in a creative rut for a while now, with his last three wide releases being We Bought A Zoo, Elizabethtown, and the loathsome Vanilla Sky. Having now seen the film, I must say that I should hold all Cameron Crowe movies to lower expectations going forward.  Despite a deep bench of talented actors and the peaceful backdrop of Hawaii, you'll be ready to bid farewell to Aloha relatively quickly once the film starts rolling.  It's just that bad.

Brian Gilchrest (Cooper) is a defense contractor with a checkered past, both personally and professionally.  With this in mind, it's safe to say that returning to his home Hawaii to take on an assignment for billionaire Carson Welch (Murray) brings plenty of controversy.  On a personal front, he must encounter his ex-girlfriend Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams) for the first time in nearly thirteen years.  On a professional front, he's re-opening old wounds with General Dixon (Baldwin) and Colonel Lacy (Danny McBride).  As he tries to circumvent the ire of others from his past mistakes, Brian begins making all-new ones with Captain Allison Ng (Stone), an energetic pilot in the Air Force assigned to work with him during his stay in Hawaii.

The gloves are about to come off with this disaster of a movie.  Despite its talented ensemble cast and the peaceful, romantic ambiance of Hawaii that inundates moviegoers for the film's duration, there's no way on God's green earth that I'm going to warmly embrace Cameron Crowe's Aloha.  The blame lies solely with Crowe.  The film is tonally imbalanced, and the script is atrocious.  No matter what work is done on camera by the cast, the work done behind the camera from Crowe kills any spark of movie magic from the moment the film commences.  No level of chemistry shared between Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone could save this movie.  No amount of non-verbal communication from John Krasinski could change its course.  Hell, no performances from veterans like Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin can right Crowe's wrongs here.  All in all, horrendous filmmaking killed Aloha before it ever had a chance to say hello to movie-going audiences.

Tonally, Aloha should be anything but the romantic comedy-drama that it is.  Yes, there is love.  Yes, there are personal issues at play.  However, the central premise of the film is that Bradley Cooper is knowingly enabling some shady stuff.  Said shady stuff has global implications that would kick off a space arms race and forever alter the meaning of national security.  With an egomaniacal billionaire at the center of all of this, there are plenty of opportunities to delve into the theme that America has become an oligarchy.  I say all of this to make the point that this isn't light stuff.  Crowe makes a flurry of creative missteps by combining this premise with the Hawaiian setting, his repeated failed attempts to explore Hawaiian culture/mythology, and the cheesy romance between Cooper and Stone.  No one wants their romantic comedy with a side of nuclear warfare.  Moreover, the consistently relaxed, upbeat tone that defines Aloha just doesn't fit here.  It suffices to say that Crowe’s script brings all these disparate themes and stories together and offers a lesson in how not to make a movie. 

I could write a dissertation on how awful Aloha is, but I'm going to spare you from my ranting.  That being said, you're going to need some Hawaiian Punch shots with this one.  Aloha gets a wasted rating.  Feel free to skip this one.