Rating: 12A Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, Maxime Bouttier and Billie Lourde. Directed by Ol Parker. Written by Ol Parker and Daniel Pipski. Length: 104mins.
Ticket to Paradise is a contemporary romantic comedy that see’s Georgia (Roberts) and David (Clooney) as bitter ex’s, thrown together again when they find out that their daughter has fallen in love in Bali on her post-graduation trip, and decided to get married to a local seaweed farmer instead of return to the US to become a lawyer.
We are given a solid understanding of the unhappy split between our two movie parents early on in the film, as well as a glimpse at the strain it’s put on their daughter (Dever). They do a good job at not rushing into the main story – it’s a fairly run of the mill rom com in that we can see from the trailer, possibly even the poster, the main events, but I found the backstory/ run up to the engagement actually really helpful in moving this film out of ‘just a cheesy rom com’ and into a genuinely amusing story with real people type characters rather than just archetypes. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of clichés and a couple of exaugurated, cartoonish characters but that’s not the attention pulling factor.
Obviously, the main draw of this film is it’s cast. George Clooney and Julia Roberts are amazing. While not the deepest script or characters to dig into they approach their roles with all of their experience and it shows. The comic timing and commitment is just at the right level and I can only imagine being another actor on that set and just watching the masterclass unfold.
Parker’s script, co-written with Daniel Pipski, is more sentimental than it is humorous. It’s rooted in a parent’s fear that their children are such perfect remakes of themselves that they’re bound to repeat the same mistakes, which again, adds layers to this lovely, picturesque world and avoids the laziness of ‘easy’ rom com writing. Although more sentimental, the humour is definitely there, more in the language that the more slapstick moments like the vicious dolphin attack…but there’s enough in there to keep things light.
All in all it’s just a solid film for its genre. I know some people will think it’s weak if they don’t particularly enjoy romantic comedies but to look at it within it’s genre, I think it’s really quite strong. It feels like it’s a movie that Ol Parker wanted to make, the care in the details makes it more in line with the era of solid romantic comedies, rather than the more cheesey ‘Hallmark’ type films we see much more regularly today.