5 Tropical Movies Set in Hawaii

Friday, November 18 by Christopher Chavez

Towering palm trees, sandy beaches and crystal blue waters are some of the features these five tropical movies set in Hawaii have in common. Whether it is the story of an amnesiac capturing the heart of a ladies’ man, a blundering crime caper or a heart-pumping thriller of violence and deception, the setting in these diverse movies is the same. Warm and inviting, the islands of Hawaii lend themselves as the tropical canvas on which these stories unfold.


“50 First Dates”

Filmed almost entirely on the beautiful island of Oahu, “50 First Dates” is a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Sandler portrays Henry Roth, a womanizing marine life veterinarian who meets sweet Lucy Whitmore, played by Barrymore. During a brief encounter, Roth becomes completely smitten with Lucy. The following day, upon returning to the café, he discovers she has no recollection of having met him. Roth soon learns that Lucy suffers from short-term memory loss. Thinking he has finally found the kind of woman he’s been looking for, Roth decides to do everything he can to make her fall in love with him each day, hoping one day the memories will stick. What follows is an often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, series of “first dates.” Sandler’s trademark goofy, boyish charm melds seamlessly with Barrymore’s loveable innocence, as the two capitalize on the chemistry that helped make their first film, “The Wedding Singer,” so popular.


“A Perfect Getaway”

Hawaii’s gorgeous tropical backdrop is the setting for an edge of your seat psychological thriller in this 2009 film by director David Twohy. Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich play a honeymooning couple who have decided to hike a remote beach on the island. During their trek they run into a group of hikers who inform them of gruesome murders that have taken place at Honolulu. The suspects are a man and a woman, also posing as hikers. Zahn and Jovovich then encounter two couples who meet the description of the suspects. The film soon becomes a rollercoaster ride of paranoia and terror as each character’s true motives come into question.


“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

Written by and starring Jason Segel of “How I Met Your Mother” fame, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is another romantic comedy that takes place on the island of Oahu. Segel plays Peter Bretter, a composer who gets dumped by his television star girlfriend, Sarah. Peter is completely devastated by the break up and decides to get away to Hawaii to forget his troubles. Unfortunately, Sarah and her new rock star beau are vacationing at the same hotel. With all-star performances by Segel, Mila Kunis, Jonah Hill and comedian Russell Brand as crazy rocker Aldous Snow, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is a hilarious story of heartache and liberation set in the breathtaking tropics.


“The Big Bounce”

Boasting a cast with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Owen Wilson, Gary Sinise and Charlie Sheen (before he went crazy), “The Big Bounce” is a crime comedy based on the book by Elmore Leonard. Set on the island of Oahu, “The Big Bounce” finds Wilson as Jack Ryan, an affable surfer and con man who falls for the mistress of millionaire Ray Ritchie, played by Gary Sinise. The two hatch a plan to steal money from Ritchie, while trying to avoid Sheen, the bumbling police lieutenant on Ritchie’s payroll. Morgan Freeman rounds out the colorful cast of characters as the sly Judge Walter Crewes, Jack Ryan’s employer.


“Just Go With It”

Danny Maccabee, played by Adam Sandler, is a plastic surgeon who pretends to be a married man in order to attract and bed women. When he falls for a sixth grade teacher named Palmer, played by Brooklyn Decker, he must go to great lengths to keep up the “married” charade in order to keep her. He convinces her he is stuck in a loveless marriage and recruits his office manager, portrayed by Jennifer Aniston, to play his cold-hearted wife. When her kids enter the mix, Danny ends up getting hustled into flying the entire group out to Hawaii for a weekend getaway. “Just Go With It” is a classic Sandler comedy with tropical island flare.

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