In Ticket to Paradise, David and Georgia Cotton are a divorced couple who don’t see eye-to-eye. After five years of marriage, and 25 years of knowing each other, they just about tolerate one another for the sake of their daughter, Lily.
As for Lily, she has just graduated from university and has plans to become a lawyer. That is, until she goes on holiday to Bali, meets a young seaweed farmer called Gede, falls in love, and decides to change her career path and get married.
Unhappy about Lily’s sudden change in plans, as well as the impending marriage, David and Georgia set off to Bali to stop Lily from going through with the wedding. But in order to try and get her on side, they must put aside their own differences, hold back their usual barbed comments, and work together to formulate a plan.
Can the pair put up with each other long enough to disrupt the wedding or will Lily get married regardless? And will this forced union between the Cottons reignite old feelings and make them look back on their past relationship with a completely different mindset?
Directed by Ol Parker, Ticket to Paradise is a romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney. The movie is currently playing in UK cinemas, and will hits US screens on October 21st.
Ticket to Paradise is a light, bright, and fun rom-com filled with plenty of heart. It is a humorous picture, that may not induce copious belly laughs, but is consistently funny throughout.
This is a film in which the tone and comedy work well together, to produce something which is incredibly easy to watch and often very delightful. There is a certain likeability about the picture, which is present from the opening moments and remains until the credits roll.
A great deal of the likeability lies in the film itself: In the story, the direction, and the comedy. The rest lies in lead actors, Julia Roberts and George Clooney, who are on fine form, bringing a significant amount of sparkle to proceedings.
Roberts and Clooney have previously appeared on screen together, in a couple of the Ocean’s movies (2001 & 2004), as well as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), and in the underrated crime thriller, Money Monster (2016); but this is the first time they’ve really had chance to appear alongside each other in a romantic comedy. Considering both have headlined rom-coms in the past, and both are (still) deemed heartthrobs of the big screen, it seems odd that it has taken this long for a film like Ticket to Paradise to happen.
Yet, it has happened, and it was worth the wait. Worth it because I’d argue that this film works as well as it does because both Roberts and Clooney are now older, and therefore they can bring something different to the screen.
Had this movie happened 30 years ago, we would have had the two leads fawning over each other, in a ‘will they, won’t they’ (yes, they will) kind of way. I’m sure this could have been equally as delightful, but maybe the heart or character depth wouldn’t have been quite there, and this would have been a lesser picture as a result.
But with Ticket to Paradise, we get the Roberts/Clooney combo at a different point in life. Gone are the carefree days, where they could hook up as singletons, and instead we get them as divorced parents to a young adult, with plenty to bicker about following the collapse of their relationship.
This kind of material only comes with age, so the actors need to be at this point in their lives to pull it off. And of course, for the gags to land and for the material to really zing, you need talent such as Roberts and Clooney in order for it to work.
Both actors have a certain charm, especially when it comes to films of a romantic nature. Audiences saw it with Roberts in Pretty Woman (1990), and with Clooney in Out of Sight (1998), and it is very much on display here.
But it’s not a sickly-sweet kind of charm, nor does this film present an inappropriate or badly conceived romance. This film feels as if it has been written with these actors (and their ages) in mind, and this means the movie presents a level of maturity, that can be a great deal of fun at the same time.
And it is fun. Ticket to Paradise is a joy to watch, which looks good and shines in just the right way.
There is a certain sense that this film is a bit of a call-back to the types of pictures that don’t tend to get made so much anymore. Yes, we still get rom-coms (this year’s Jennifer Lopez/Owen Wilson picture, Marry Me, is a fine example), but these aren’t the types of films that youngsters want to see and so they are few and far between – especially on the big screen.
As such, when a good one comes along it is important to recognise it – especially if this is your sort of thing. If you’re a bit fed up with franchise films and superhero stories, and you just want something a bit lighter and a bit frothier, then this is probably for you.
Of course, if the likes of George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and director Ol Parker (he of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again directing fame) aren’t your thing, then you will probably want to skip Ticket to Paradise. Some of the standard genre tropes and predictable elements of the story are unlikely to win you over, and I’m not going to convince you otherwise.
But for me, this is an enjoyable movie, which doesn’t outstay its welcome. It delivers exactly what it needs to, when it needs to; it utilises its lead stars in just the right way; and is the sort of movie you can take you mum/gran to see without having to explain what cinematic universe the characters exist in.
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