Aloha 2015 ***

Maybe how much we invest in films colors our judgment; people put so much weight on the Marvel universe that casting Tilda Swinton as a Asian character in Dr Strange was deemed acceptable practice, but for Cameron Crowe to cast Emma Stone as a part Asian in Aloha elicited howls of derision and led to public apologies from both film-maker and star. This mistake aside, there’s always something of interest to mine from a Crowe film, and Aloha has some hidden merits. Crowe is a Billy Wilder fan, and there’s elements of classic character-clash here as Brian (Bradley Cooper) travels to Hawaii and has to make a choice between his ex (Rachel McAdams) and his liaison (Stone). The sub-plot is unwieldy, but pertinent, as Bill Murray’s mogul Carson Welch attempts to ‘buy space’ through his satellite launches. Aloha doesn’t quite work, but has a few moment of greatness, particularly a space-docking scene scored to the Blue Nile’s haunting Let’s Go Out Tonight. Like Crowe’s Elizabethtown, Aloha is a misfire, but it’s not a complete bust and deserves a little forgiveness for its casting sins.


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