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Based on the Trailer – Aloha

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In case it’s not clear, Based on the Trailer reviews are supposed to be funny, full of jokes with an honest assessment at the end.  So how do I make jokes about a trailer with much better jokes already built in?  I guess we’ll find out together.

Aloha tells the story of a man who travels to Hawaii on business and rediscovers life and love.  Should we tell this movie “aloha” as in hello or “aloha” as in goodbye?  Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.

So who stars in this movie?  Bradley Cooper of American Sniper and Guardians of the Galaxy plays Brian Gilcrest.  His ex-girlfriend Tracy is Rachel McAdams of Mean Girls and Sherlock Homes.  His new love interest and Air Force liason, Allison Ng, is Emma Stone of The Help and The Amazing Spider-Man.  Other cast members include Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock, John Krasinski of The Office, and Bill Murray of Ghostbusters.

The director and writer is Cameron Crowe, whose other films include Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, and We Bought a Zoo.  I haven’t seen his work before, but from what I know about it, the man knows a thing or two about humor and human drama in his films.

Aloha Cast

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The trailer opens with awkward silence, broken by Alec Baldwin screaming about how there were no good times.  It’s kind of like War and Peace, only without the best of times.  Apparently, Brian just blew a huge deal involving a new space command center.  Thanks, Brian; because of you, Star Trek will never happen.  “You are going to wear this like Flavor Flav wears a clock,” Alec tells him.  And for people like me who had to Google it to get the joke (I don’t call myself the Nerd King for nothing), that means hanging around his neck.

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“Live long and prosper. Oh, wait.”

But Brian refuses to let destroying the future of space travel get him down, and he gets a second chance as his old boss, Bill Murray, hires him back to work in Hawaii.  So instead of punishing him for his meltdown, we’re giving him the working vacation most Americans would pay good money for?  And with Bill Murray?  Remind me to blow up at my job one day.  Brian is introduced to Allison, whom he quickly discovers is chock full of energy (and is really smooth with a pair of sunglasses.  “I’m so jacked for today,” she says, prompting Brian to triple his espresso order.  I’m not sure whether that’s in order to keep up with her or to keep him from slapping her, but it’s a good call either way.

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Aviator sunglasses equals instant ninjawesomeness.

As if one beautiful woman in Hawaii isn’t enough, Brian also meets his ex-girlfriend and wonders why they broke up.  “Because you’re a workaholic who creates work to avoid real work,” Tracy tells him.  So he’s a lazy workaholic?  That’s got to be a first.  “You wrecked everything,” she goes on, “and I put my life back together in spite of you.”  Yeah, but did you lose a space command center because of it, Tracy?  Huh?  DID YOU?!

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This is the face that says “I stopped taking you seriously the day I met you.”

Brian and Allison start arguing about whether Allison is actually needed for the mission or whether Brian works better alone and how Brian is cynical and whether or not his brains are unpickable and … okay, let’s just jump to the part where they start kissing.  They’re so obviously going to fall in love, as much as they argue.  We get a shot of Emma Stone learning to hula dance (which I didn’t know I needed in my life until now) and she tells someone over the phone (I’m guessing her mother, because who else would she be talking to a guy about?) that Brian could have been great if everything hadn’t blown up.  Kudos to the trailer for not telling us what caused this horrible meltdown in Brian’s life.  Less kudos to the movie if it turns out to be just his failed relationship with Tracy and nothing else.

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“All he needs is web shooters and he’s the perfect boyfriend.”

Speaking of Tracy, she and Brian talk about Allison and having what they want in a way that suggests love triangle to me, a route I kind of hope they don’t go because then Allison wouldn’t have anyone and neither would Woody (John Krasinski), Tracy’s current boyfriend who doesn’t talk.  Fortunately for that relationship, Brian can translate Woody’s nonverbal communication.  Dude, you missed your calling as a sign language interpreter.  Maybe if you’d had that job, you wouldn’t have cost us a space command center (no, I’m not letting that go; you will wear it like a clock, doggone it!).

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“I’m sensing some tension here. What say we hug it out?”

Tracy says Brian came back to Hawaii for a reason.  Yes, to take a job with Bill Murray so he can make money and not be homeless.  “Let’s just talk about it before I explode,” she pleads.  Yes, let’s not have this turning into a slasher film.  Allison tells Brian she had fun on their day together, and Brian remarks that nothing beats fun.  I should hope not.  Don’t beat fun; what did fun ever do to you?  “Your life is about to become very, very complicated,” Bill Murray tells Brian.  And I know about complicated lives, because I spent several complicated lifetimes living the same day over and over again.

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“No, you do not need that guy’s leg. Stop it.”

We get a rundown of the cast, and Bill Murray says, “The future isn’t just something that happens.”  It’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey … stuff.  “It’s a brutal force with a great sense of humor that’ll steamroll you if you’re not watching.”  I’m sorry, Bill Murray, are we talking about the future or you?  And that’s the note the trailer leaves us on.  I get from the wonder in everyone’s eyes that the future being all these things is supposed to be good, but somehow I find the idea of being steamrolled by a brutal force less than comforting.

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“Oh, look, a meteor coming to steamroll me.”

So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie?  Yes, yes I do.  It seems like a sweet, funny, and poignant story with some great talent behind it.  The trailer lets us fall in love with the characters without revealing too much of the plot, which is a novelty these days.  Keep in mind it’s rated PG13, so it probably has some problematic content, but for older teens on up, this looks like a fun movie to see with your friends or your sweetheart.  I don’t know that I’ll see it in theaters, but I’ll definitely check it out when it comes out on DVD.

It’ll tide me over until they put Bill Murray in charge of a space command center in Hawaii.

Aloha is owned by Sony Pictures.

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