Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hour 44 minutes, Director – Ol Parker
A long-divorced couple (George Clooney, Julia Roberts) travel to Bali to stop their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) from marrying a man (Maxime Bouttier) she’s just met whilst celebrating her graduation.
With many celebrating and praising the ‘return’ of the big studio rom-com over the past few years Ticket To Paradise arrives to truly bring about something of a throwback. Pitching the undeniable chemistry of George Clooney and Julia Roberts as a constantly feuding divorced couple who find themselves having to team up in order to stop their daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) from getting married to someone (Maxime Bouttier plays seaweed farmer fiancé Gede) she’s just met whilst celebrating her graduation in Bali. They fear that she’s going to make the same mistake they made when they were her, to each other.
It’s a narrative where you can roughly tell what’s going to happen over the course of the film and yet you generally buy it thanks to the performances of Clooney and Roberts. Their movie-star charm and aesthetic helps to sell the film and brings you on board, alongside selling a number of the chuckles along the way. In other hands a number of the gags could feel tired and laboured, with the film as a whole feeling as if it belongs on Netflix with a pun title, but Clooney and Roberts, almost effortlessly, succeed. The running joke of their bickering and exaggerated hatred towards each other – Roberts’ Georgia insists in her opening lines “I try not to be in the same time zone [as him] if I can help it” – can begin to wear thin, particularly as the film wants to show the pair coming together with their joint mission, but there’s still enough to be amused by throughout.
The two leads certainly aren’t always in the spotlight throughout, though. The supporting cast, primarily Dever and Bouttier, get their moments – although perhaps not always in the comedic vein – to allow things to progress and remind you of the reason why we’re here in the first place (with Bali (actually Australia) being given a tourist-encouraging view by director Ol Parker, who was behind Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again). However, the real scene-stealer is Billie Lourd as Lily’s best friend Wren. Having stolen the show in 2019’s Booksmart as Gigi, here Lourd brings a similar energy and plenty of successful laughs with her handful of one-liners and excellent timing proving her to be a true comedic force even with fairly limited screen-time.
With such performances the film manages to sell itself and fill its 104 minute run-time well enough. It may have its noticeable conventions and you can tell where it’s generally going from the outline, although you might not quite buy some of the final stages due to some of the gags throughout the film, but there’s a likable and enjoyable enough film within Ticket To Paradise to warrant viewing. Likely to please fans of the central pairing, who are of course great together, and perhaps rom-coms in general, the cast helps to make for something which might not take the audience to paradise, but certainly acts as a smooth enough journey nonetheless.
Ticket To Paradise certainly has its conventions and familiar elements, in other hands it may not click, but thanks to the central cast; particularly the undeniable chemistry of Clooney and Roberts, there are enough chuckles to make for worthwhile amusement throughout.