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April 13, 2018

Aloha (2015) --- "Guy Goes To Hawaii To Reconnect With An Old Flame. What He Discovers Instead Will Leave You Speechless."

Plot Summary
While on assignment in Oahu, Hawaii, military contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) reconnects with his old flame Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams), now married to an Air Force recruit (John Krasinski). He also spends time with Allison Ng (Emma Stone), a hard-nosed fighter pilot who watches every move that he makes. As they travel throughout the lush terrain, Brian finds himself falling for his feisty guide, while his conversations with Tracy may provide a shocking revelation from their past. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Writer & Director Cameron Crowe (Jerry McGuire) made more than a dozen films in the early 80’s and while his films have evolved over time, they still maintain his unique style - consistent, open, sensitive and quirky. With exception of Vanilla Sky (2001) a fantasy/mystery film and musical documentary Pearl Jam Twenty (2011), most of Crowe’s films have been comedies, each with a unique dosage of drama and romance. In the 80’s his films involved funny coming of age stories to would remain classics for decades to come: like Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and Say Anything (1989). In the 90’s Crowe started to create films that focused more on the concept of family, like Singles (1992) and Jerry Maguire (1996). This trend is also continued in Almost Famous (2000), We Bought a Zoo (2011), and again in this film Aloha (2015). There was a change in the family film, starting with Jerry Maguire, where the story starts focusing on a central character’s journey to redemption for past mistakes and/or sorting out what really matters to them. And yet through all these changes and evolutions to his style, Cameron Crowe remains remarkably consistent with strong character development and quirky dialog.

     Aloha (2015) is a hilarious and heartfelt film, and although it is a somewhat typical rom-com (romantic comedy) film, the ending was still a pleasant surprise. The story is a bit disjointed but pleasant to watch. Hawaii itself becomes a character here as the story pays homage to and celebrates the Hawaiian culture and its native populations.  The dialogue is quirky and a bit rambling, and the camera work is colorful. The last 20 or so minutes become very dramatic, romantic and even joyful.
     The characters have strong development and great chemistry. Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy) does a good job as Brian Gilcrest a military man looking for closure for past mistakes. Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes) is beautiful and quirky as Allison Ng, the young and enthusiastic guide whose dad is half Chinese and half Hawaiian. No one else could have portrayed her better and the chemistry she has with Cooper is humorous and eccentric. The rest of the supporting cast have their share of shining moments in the film. John Krasinski (Jack Ryan, TV series) is funny as the handsome and silent dad, not many people can play a silent character but he manages to hold his own. He has good chemistry with Rachel McAdams (Game Night) who is adorable as always. Danielle Rose Russell’s (The Originals, TV series) performance as the young daughter stuck in the middle is breathtaking, and despite only having a handful of lines she manages to fill every scene she’s in. Bill Murray (Groundhog’s Day) and Alex Baldwin (Boss Baby) are funny as always but at times it felt like they were a bit wasted here. Although it was nice to see Danny McBride (The Disaster Artist) play a non-vulgar character for a change.

     Overall, Aloha (2015) is a hilarious and heartfelt film, and although it is a somewhat typical rom-com (romantic comedy) film, the ending was still a pleasant surprise. The dialogue is mostly carried by the two main characters – Cooper and Stone – but the rest of the cast manage to shine in their own way. The camera work is colorful and I am pleased that Crowe and his team took advantage of highlighting Hawaii as a character in itself, in addition, the film pays homage to and celebrates the Hawaiian culture and its native population beautifully. This is a great addition to director & writer Cameron Crowe’s repertoire. If you enjoyed Crowe’s film We Bought A Zoo or if you are looking for a sweet and simple family film with great humor and developed characters, than I recommend this film.

"In any of its many forms, I have found that nothing beats fun."
- Brian Gilcrest

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  7.8 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  7.8 of 10 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Aloha (2015).

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Chef (2014)
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Descendants, The (2011)
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