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 terrible price?
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 description.
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 movie.
The rest stunk.