Cameron Crowe directs Bradley Copper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams in a romantic comedy set around a satellite launch in Hawaii.
Better than its reputation at the box office, in the press, within its own studio and the backlash about honky Emma Stone being cast as a character who is a quarter Hawaiian suggests. Crowe is a director who has gone off the boil since Almost Famous but his lesser films still have the charm of someone trying to emulate mid-career Billy Wilder… or even early career Crowe. If anything the film suffers most from a very messy opening sequence where, in a rush to introduce all the characters and plot stakes in one long 1930s style gush, we are left by the end of the first act with no real idea of the who, the what and the why is going on nor what could happen. The later scenes that are salvage job reshoots are very obvious too; any clip where Cooper’s hands go yellow from fake tan and his hair is a shade darker are obvious signs of a loss of faith in the intended product. Despite all this the film actually settles down into a relatively enjoyable and captivating adult romcom in the last hour, bolstered by an AAA Grade supporting cast and another stand out turn from Stone. On paper she may seem like controversial casting but in the actual experience she pulls off a performance of wide eyed optimism and eagerness to ingratiate herself into her vague Hawaiian roots (the controversial quarter seems an intended joke on the clearly white character) that makes the film. A messy fumble of a flick for sure but I have inkling that on a third or fourth viewing that clunky handicap of an opening wouldn’t matter quite so much and the strands about modern corporate colonialism, death, rebirth, fidelity and tradition might make this a far more inviting prospect for reappraisal. In a decade’s time we could all be kicking ourselves for ignoring what could turn out to be the Blade Runner of sunny romances in terms of richness and depth. And with an ensemble like it has there’s every chance this film will have a long shelf life beyond it’s current horrid status.