Opening 6 Aug 2015
Billionaire private sector entrepreneur Carson Welch (Bill Murray) rehires Brian (Bradley Cooper) to oversee a significant space satellite project. Brian’s feelings though are mixed returning to Honolulu, Hawaii; he knows his rather dubious reputation is on the line. First bombshell is meeting an old flame (Rachel McAdams), albeit her circumstances are greatly altered. Then Brian learns rising-star, play-by-the-book Air Force pilot Ng (Emma Stone) will babysit him. While Brian negotiates with Dennis Bumpy Kanahele, Hawaiian independence movement head, with her vibrant individuality and lineage pride Ng’s presence is an eye-opening advantage. Brian’s feelings unexpectedly shift; Ng’s decency reawakens his. Air Force four-star General Dixon (Alec Baldwin) is breathing down Brian’s neck, Welch amps up the schedule, and a kid (Jaeden Lieberher) tips him off culminating in decision-making time. Luckily, Brian has retained some clout.
Cameron Crowe writes-directs this quirky romantic comedy and somehow manages to effectively commingle relationship angles, politics, patriotism, and environmental and native Hawaiians’ issues. Of course it helps having an A-list cast, great location shots – Hickam Field Air Force base, Diamond Head Crater, Chinatown, the village of Pu’uhonua O Waimanalo, et al. (Eric Gautier cinematography), and wonderful music by Jon Thor Birgisson and Alex Somers plus a scene with Hawaiian slack-key guitar legends Ledward Kaapana and Mike Kaawa playing. Aloha’s drollness, while alluding to topics such as loyalties, communication – verbal and non-verbal, valuing families and cultures, makes for refreshingly light and enlightening summer entertainment. (Marinell Haegelin)