Taglines: Sometimes you have to say goodbye before you can say hello.
Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) discusses longing and looking up to the future as a boy. He is then seen in military uniform, but then relates how the billionaires took over in 2008, so he left the military and took a job as a contractor, working for Carson Welch (Bill Murray). Brian messed up in Kabul, but is now going back to Hawaii, a second chance.
His pilot is John “Woody” Woodside (John Krasinski), now married to Brian’s ex-girlfriend, Tracy (Rachel McAdams). Upon arrival Brian meets up with his old friend Colonel Lacy (Danny McBride) as well as his decorated, no-nonsense Air Force liaison, Allison Ng (Emma Stone). Brian meets Tracy and her children, her twelve-year-old Gracie, and ten-year-old Mitch. They invite Brian to dinner while he is in Hawaii and Mitch asks Brian if he is the arrival.
Brian meets up with Carson who asks him to organise a blessing for a new gate and move on from there. Ng tries to engage Brian in conversation but he somewhat coldly tells her goodnight. From his room, Brian can hear Ng talking about him over the phone. She claims to see greatness, but also believes him to be a wreck. When they head out the next morning, she peppers him with questions, but in response he howls like a coyote, in reference to her description of him the night before. He assures her he is just there as a private citizen. they travel to meet with the king of the nation of Hawaii, as she continues to ask questions. He tells her his brain is unpickable.
Brian meets the king, who knows him, and tries to strike a deal to get the gate blessing done. The king tells Brian his people are crooks. Brian says that it is his nation, but they are in America, with the king seeing it as military occupation. Brian is authorized to make offerings to the king in order for the ceremony.
The king wants two mountains back and free cell phone service. Ng tells the king that she believes in Hawaii, and gives her word that the military will not put weapons in the sacred skies. She then asks him for the band to play music and joins in. Brian and the king then actually agree on the deal, and the king gives him a flag.
Mitch and Tracy are out getting dinner and Mitch sees a truck with a strange oversized load, which he films. The next night, Ng and Brian go to Tracy’s house for dinner. Brian and Tracy converse in the kitchen, asking each other if they have what they want, while Ng teaches the kids how to salute in the other room. Tracy tells Brian that Woody doesn’t speak, but that he is a great dad.
They rehash their break-up, which involved Brian never showing up for their vacation. She says that she loved him, and had plans, but he wrecked everything. She has waited and wanted to tell him something, which he needs to hear. Woody comes in, touches Brian’s shoulder, smiles, and leaves. Brian says he doesn’t see what Tracy means, as Woody said a lot with his gestures.
Later, Brian goes to Mitch’s room and admires his collection of space items. He admits that he did almost marry his mom when Mitch asks, but will not answer why anyone would break up with her. Instead, Brian notices a book on the arrival Mitch has. Mitch again asks if Brian is that god and tells him about the myth. Ng and Gracie are doing the hula. Woody sees them and mouths “beautiful.” Brian tells Mitch he is that god, and Mitch says that he loves him.
Brian, Ng, Tracy and Woody all go to a holiday event. General Dixon (Alec Baldwin), a very important but irritable man, is there, as is Carson. Dixon comes over to Brian and tells him not to screw up the deal with the Hawaiians. Another man, Bob Largent, talks with Brian and claims that General Dixon does like him, and then slips something into his pocket. He takes his drinks and sends him to wait for Carson in the hallway. Carson explains that they are really doing in Hawaii – taking control.
Carson and Ng dance, while Brian looks on amused. He then returns to his room and looks at the contents of the flash drive Largent gave him: it contains top secret info. He sneezes and Ng hears him from her room next door. They talk outside and then she comes over with her peppermint tea and laptop. Brian shares some of his experience in Kabul, where he saw a missile coming but he didn’t get out of the way because he didn’t care. He then says that tonight is the first night he is truly happy he lived. They kiss and are shown naked in bed together.
Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Ivana Milicevic
Screenplay by: Cameron Crowe
Production Design by: Clay A. Griffith
Cinematography by: Eric Gautier
Film Editing by: Joe Hutshing
Costume Design by: Deborah Lynn Scott
Set Decoration by: William Reyes Jr, Wayne Shepherd
Music by: Jon Thor Birgisson, Alex Somers
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments.
Studio: Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 29, 2015