I sat stunned as the credits began to roll. "What the bleep WAS that?"
I asked my wife. "What just happened?" She shrugged and smiled. I took
that to mean she didn't know, either.
Nor was our confusion unfounded. The filmmakers threw into "Aloha" just
about every plot device they could find, hoping at least one of them
would work, and in one or two cases they succeeded, but my God, at what
Forget Emma Stone not being Hawaiian, although that actually did start
to bug me. Far more important is that for the first third of the film,
she played her part as if she had just shot meth. Many lines were
delivered so rapidly (and perkily) that neither my wife nor I could
understand what she had said. Body language, gestures, even breathing
all way too fast. Creepy and unsettling. And she was all over Brad
Cooper in a way that makes "cartoonish" seem somehow inadequate as a
But of course, she's part-Hawaiian, possibly from the Scandinavian
portion of the Big Island, so of course she saves the big deal with the
native Hawaiians to enable the building of the new industrial plants
for the not-Space-X CEO, played by a Bill Murray whose face seemed
permanently caught in a Vise Grip, possibly because he was as
inappropriately cast as if he had been tapped to play Queen Elizabeth.
And of course he's decided to conceal inside his new South Pacific
satellite a single nuclear warhead, because I guess that would be a big
win. And Stone has warned Cooper (who acts as if "corporate tool" is
tattooed on his forehead) that Bill Murray is weaponizing space just as
the wise yet simple island natives feared, so when he grunts and
twitches his eyebrows to indicate his intent to Do His Job she dumps
him, in a scene that screams "you're way better off without her."
So we have the wise-primitives-trying-to-stop-evil-modernity-from-
ruining-our-planet plot, and the will-they-or-won't-they plot, and
Rachel McAdams as the One He Left Behind plot, but now things get
really confusing. Because Cooper suddenly turns into James Bond, wiping
out the Chinese attempt to hack the satellite (which they do because,
uh...) and then he and his fat buddy (because fat guys and computer
guys are the same thing in Hollywood) hack the satellite themselves and
stop Bill Murray from taking over the world with his single nuclear
warhead by essentially distributing plutonium dust over half the
planet. Thereby killing millions of people. But we don't get to see
that part; that's the hook for the sequel.
But we're not done yet! We have to throw in the general-blowing-his-
stack plot, and the "you mean I'm a father?" plot, and oh Lord I'm sure
I forgot a plot or two. I had to go home and hide. What a mess! It was
like the execrable "Cannonball Run" with Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise,
except those guys actually hired James Bond (Roger Moore), they didn't
have one guy play his part and all the others to boot.
In the midst of this polymelic chopped salad of a movie, three things
stood out as actual redeeming features. First, Rachel McAdams plays her
character perfectly, and it's a well-drawn character. Second, her
husband, played by John Krasinski, was equally excellent in a very
understated part that got the only intentional laughs of the film. And
finally, their daughter, played by Danielle Rose Russell, showed an
emoting capacity which, at her age, portends an excellent future. Those
things worked, and could have been the whole plot line of a much better
The rest stunk.