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Aloha is a word with many meanings. In the case of Cameron Crowe’s latest film, it’s definition can only be “whaaaa?”.

How could a movie helmed by the maker of social classics like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous deliver such a messy misfire? It’s certainly not as if Crowe doesn’t have the goods to work with: a fine cast, an intriguing premise, a gorgeous backdrop. But somehow, none of this ever locks in, affections and interest scattered.

Bradley Cooper stars as Brian Gilcrest, a military contractor who shows up at a Hawaiian military base to pull off a deal for a mysterious gazillionaire (a daffy Bill Murray). Naturally, the old girlfriend is there, and really, who could ever forget Rachel McAdams? Too bad she’s married to A Nice Guy (John Krasinski) and has Two Nice Kids. Conveniently, the pilot who’s been attached to his mission (not to fly or anything, she just kind of hangs around, looking pretty) already has a major crush on him, thus allowing for a romantic possibility all while he’s also pulling off a deal to possibly screw the locals and the rest of humanity.

Actually, that’s the interesting thread that could have made this movie at least somewhat distinctive. What is the deal with the military making all these alliances with private contractors anyway? But, just as we even flirt with the political implications of that, we’re back to goofy love land. And, in this case, that’s not a particularly fresh or even appealing place.

I have been very impressed by Emma Stone’s work in several movies, but here, she sinks in the watery mess of her hyper alert, baby superstar pilot-who-just-happens-to-be-one-quarter-Hawaiian. There’s a significant age difference between the two supposedly meant-to-be lovers, of course. This is a Hollywood movie after all. But even worse, there’s just about no chemistry, no matter how hard Stone pushes that wide eyed stare.  

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