George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunite in Universal Pictures’ Ticket to Paradise for romantic comedy fun, six years after their last collaboration in Money Monster. Known for their remarkable onscreen chemistry when they share a project, Clooney and Roberts bring the same fiery passion to their latest, giving fans a glimpse of nostalgia while also seeing the two movie stars take on characters unlike anything they’ve ever done before. Ol Parker directs this gorgeous film written by himself and Daniel Pipski about love and second chances. Though it’s uneven in character depth and as predictable as these movies can be, Ticket to Paradise is genuine popcorn fun.
The film stars Julia Roberts as the caring mother and somewhat uptight workaholic, Georgia, who’s willing to do anything to see her daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) succeed and be happy. Sharing this notion is her ex-husband—the vivacious yet laid-back David (George Clooney). That seems to be the only thing Georgia and David can agree on, as the estranged exes have a deep hatred for one another and regret their marriage. After Lily graduates from law school, she ventures off to Bali with her friend Wren (Billie Lourd). Wanting to stay for her new fiancé Gede (Maxime Bouttier), her parents hatch together a plan to prevent their daughter from making the same mistake they did 25 years ago.
Genuine popcorn fun
Ticket to Paradise has a lot going for it when it comes to the chemistry between Roberts and Clooney. Unfortunately, the story relies too heavily on that and fails to give any attention to the supporting characters and storytelling. Through Parker’s lens, it’s expected of the audience to side with Lily’s parents by not marrying someone she’s only known for 30+ days. However, if we’re expected to go on a journey that finds Georgia and David coming around by the film’s end, there was a poor job in showing viewers why that should be the case. Specifically, it’s difficult to see the chemistry between Lily & Gede and why any ambitious woman would throw away their future after knowing someone for less than 30 days.
When this framework isn’t inhibiting the progression of the story, it’s the bickering and back-and-forth between Julia and George that make this an engaging watching experience. Their scenes together are the standouts, leading to laugh-out-loud moments that would entertain even the coldest of viewers. And it seems as if the two thoroughly enjoyed their time together playing these characters and the outrageous things that they were asked to do onscreen. So, it’s hard to fully judge Parker’s latest when Roberts & Clooney amplify the film through performance alone.
Ticket to Paradise is worth the watch
While predictable by nature with character development issues throughout, Ticket to Paradise is a compelling romantic comedy worth a watch. Inherently, this a movie about personal growth despite one’s age and finding second chances when you think one may not exist. And at the end of the day, it’s sweet to experience that in reality or through characters like Georgia and David—especially when the leads are so convincing in every scene and moments that showcase a human’s tendency to reconnect with something (or someone) that may have been lost.
Ticket to Paradise releases in theaters on October 21st. Check out the trailer below: