Director: Ol Parker
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Maxime Bouttier, Lucas Bravo
Runtime: 1 hr 44 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 6 October 2022
Synopsis: Academy Award ® winners G EORGE CLOONEY and JULIA ROBERTS reunite on the big screen as exes David and Georgia who find themselves on a shared mission to stop their lovestruck daughter from making the same mistake they once made.
How long has it been since we have had a romantic comedy grace the big screen? Too long, it seems, according to this beautiful reminder from megawatt stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
Lest we forget how the genre became a Hollywood staple, their latest big-screen reunion is a throwback not just to the screwball delights of the classic rom-com but also to the winsome pleasures of watching a couple you are sure will end up together struggle through their doubts and uncertainties before proving that your intuition was right all along.
The couple in question is David (Clooney) and Georgia (Roberts), who were married 25 years ago, had a lovely daughter named Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), and then split up after five years of marriage. As we learn from their separate phone conversations with Lily on the occasion of her college graduation, neither David nor Georgia can stand being in each other’s presence, which explains why they cannot resist bickering openly while their daughter’s ceremony is still ongoing.
Unluckily for them, both parents are forced to put aside their differences just six weeks later in order to stop Lily from making the same bad life choice that they did by marrying each other. Their quest brings them to the island of Bali, where Lily had met and fallen in love with a handsome native seaweed farmer named Gede (Maxime Bouttier).
Even as they are in cahoots trying to sabotage Lily’s whirlwind romance, there is no stopping David and Georgia from sniping at each other. And why not really? Both Clooney and Roberts clearly relish the opportunity to go at one another, and it is great fun watching them trade barbs, some of it scripted and the rest of it obviously but shrewdly improvised.
Both pros are also equally game for the film’s goofy set-pieces, such as a mission to steal the loved-in couple’s wedding rings, a wild night out filled with beer pong games and embarrassing dance floor moments (especially to C+C Music Factory’s ’90s floor-filler ‘Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now’), and encounters with the local wildlife including an aggressive dolphin and a venomous snake. It is to their credit that the zany shenanigans never come off as cringe-worthy, not least given their age or that of their characters.
To be fair, director Ol Parker – who co-wrote the movie with Daniel Pipski – balances the antics with a good dose of character drama, affording the space for David and Georgia to ruminate just how their love crashed and burned all those years ago. In fact, we dare say our favourite moments of the film are its quieter, more introspective scenes, where Clooney and Roberts dig into their characters’ regrets and insecurities and ultimately come to terms with what is best for themselves as well as for Lily.
As much as the film belongs to Clooney and Roberts, Parker does give space for some of the supporting players to have their moments. Genevieve Lemon is a hoot as a passenger seated between David and Georgia on their Bali-bound flight. Billie Lourd makes droll work of her role as Lily’s best friend. And last but not least, Lucas Bravo is both gently amusing and unexpectedly affecting as Georgia’s younger boyfriend, whose heart will inadvertently be broken by the end of the movie.
Like we said, there is comfort in knowing exactly where ‘Ticket to Paradise’ is going, and like the best of its genre, this rom-com makes the journey there worth the while. It is also utterly befitting that Roberts should be the one to remind us of what Hollywood studio rom-coms were made of, and even more delightful watching her and Clooney show us the very definition of big-screen chemistry. As familiar as its pleasures may be, this is well worth the ticket.
(With warmth, wit and perfect chemistry between its megawatt stars, 'Ticket to Paradise' is the quintessential Hollywood rom-com)
Review by Gabriel Chong