Ticket to Paradise - a film you and your granny will both love
3 out of 5
Clooney and Roberts – what’s not to like? Throw in an awesome location, like Indonesia and a hefty dose of slushiness and you have writer/director Ol Parker’s new end of summer flick, Ticket to Paradise. As the credits were rolling, a woman passed by my seat and said to me "That was brilliant, wasn't it?" It's hard to argue. Ticket to Paradise sticks to a well-trodden path, that neither surprises or disappoints. We all know what's going to happen in the end.
The location is used beautifully here – in fact it’s the best character. Right up until the point you find out Australia is masquerading as Bali and yes, those dolphins are clearly CGI. As our nights draw in and the mornings give you a chill, the scenery here will transport you to an environment where perhaps you might even fall in love and decide to get married at the drop of a hat.
After graduating with aspirations of being a bad-ass lawyer, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) and party girl best friend Wren (Billie Lourd) head off for one last holiday and low and behold; Lily finds love in a seaweed farmer Gede (Maxime Boutier). Head over heels, or perhaps head over seaweed, she agrees to marry this man resulting in her divorced parents Georgia (Julia Roberts) and David (George Clooney) jumping on a plane hoping to restore some sense into the situation that could quite possibly end the same way their relationship inevitably did. As celebrations and engagement parties ensue, it seems Georgia and David despite their differences and Georgia’s new boyfriend on the scene will have to work together and sabotage this situation if they ever want to see their daughter become a lawyer.
It’s been over 20 years since Julia Roberts last starred in a romantic comedy — and it often feels like it’s been almost as long since anybody has made a good one. Something so easy to enjoy is so hard to get right and despite the weak script, Ticket To Paradise gets it right.
Much of the charm of “Ticket to Paradise” comes from knowing exactly how this story will end — what would a good romantic comedy be without a guaranteed happy ending? — without being totally certain of the journey to get there. Not so much in the quippy improvised dialogue (which Clooney almost definitely prides himself on basically having invented) or loveably familiar jokes (although there have been countless drunken dancing scenes destined to ridicule anybody over the age of 30, it’s still so annoyingly funny when these guys do it), but in all the careful detail that comes from letting such a talented group of storytellers bring their own romantic wisdom and faith to another fictional template.
It’s the way Parker knows exactly when to give Roberts and Clooney their own individual, long close-ups without needing fanfare or irony, or too many set-pieces to remind you that this is money being well spent. It’s the fact that there is just one line in this film about age, as Ticket to Paradise is much more interested in the unique pleasures of the here and now, rather than dwelling on what could have been or what once was.
Although the golden age of the romantic comedy might be behind us, the single greatest joy of Ticket to Paradise comes from the unwavering belief that a happy future still is possible. Some of it might sound trite in a month, a year, a decade, but that trust in fleeting happiness as something worth jumping into seaweed-heavy waters for is a breath of fresh air. It tells overachieving students and desperately impressive daughters like Lily that their lives won’t end if their careers do. It tells embittered divorcés like Georgia and David that even after everything has burnt down, you can always re-build.
Two of the things Ticket in Paradise will do is have you thinking about a peculiar banana trick for days and applaud just how good Clooney and Roberts look at their age.