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Unstable yet genuinely poignant romantic comedy about a military contractor (Bradley Cooper) with a checkered past who returns to Hawaii where his ex-girlfriend (Rachel McAdams) resides and where his billionaire boss (Bill Murray) is funding a mysterious space project for the U.S. government. When he falls in love with an Air Force captain (Emma Stone), his assignment, which entails negotiating with the leader of Hawaii's independence movement, is jeopardized. With his trademark use of rock 'n' roll music and a talent for penning witty dialogue, writer-director Cameron Crowe aims for a loose, improvisational feel that can feel manufactured; yet he understands the appeal of his terrific cast and that movie magic occurs when palpable, primarily nonverbal connections are established in which to ground loving human relationships.

Watch out for: An instance of off-camera non-marital relations between a man and a woman, one use of rough language, several crude phrases and some sexual innuendo.

Rated: A-II, adults and adolescents; MPAA: PG-13, parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015