Ticket to Paradise
The star-duo bring life and charm to the otherwise bland rom-com
Theatrically released romantic comedies seem to be making something of a comeback. The beginning of the year saw the Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson Marry Me (2022), then we got Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in The Lost City (2022), and later the Billy Eichner vehicle Bros (2022). Now we have another mega-star pairing in Ticket to Paradise (2022) with George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
Ticket to Paradise finds divorced couple David (Clooney) and Georgina (Roberts) fly to Bali, where their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) is leaving her ambitious life in the US to marry a seaweed farmer (Maxine Bouttier) she met a month earlier. Concerned about the rushed wedding, David and Georgina must get past their previous gripes with each other to dismantle the entire affair.
Ticket to Paradise is directed by Ol Parker, only his fourth film and follow-up to the sequel Mamma Mia! Here I Go Again (2018). Parker dons Ticket to Paradise with the required colorful palette of an island-set rom-com and does well to edit his film tightly in the first two acts to get the most out of his comedy. He thankfully doesn’t stick with any running gag, and largely keeps the jokes tame and safe, relying on the charisma of his actors instead. Ticket to Paradise is the typical predictable and cookie-cutter romantic comedy, where the director only must go through the motions to succeed. Parker largely pulls this off until the third act. Sadly, the breezy pace is rather halted in the finale, when a barrage side-plots are forcefully brought to resolution and the core narrative is dragged out and even sidelined.
Ticket to Paradise’s greatest draw is the mega-wattage stars of Clooney and Roberts. The two veterans are practically pulling off laughs with their eyes closed. Such is their proven chemistry and charm that they practically carry the film and flaccid script to the finish line by themselves. Simply having them snipe at each other is the true enjoyment of the film, and the two Hollywood icons don’t disappoint. Dever, meanwhile, gives her rather throwaway character of “protagonist’s daughter” more depth and complexity than she ever had a right to be. This helps viewers catch a glimmer of intricacy to the characters and plot, though not enough to erase the rather bland and predictable beats.
In the end, Ticket to Paradise delivers exactly what you expect. From the poster you can tell exactly how each element of the plot is going to turn out; you can even finish off the film’s jokes as characters say them. However, nestling in such predictability, with the likeable stars of Clooney and Roberts, can prove to be a comfort in its own way. As such, Ticket to Paradise, while delivering nothing original or complex to viewers, proves to be an entertaining pastime.