Considering that both Julia Roberts and George Clooney have such great chemistry on screen, it should come as no surprise that they are getting paired once again. The two charming and very watchable actors co-starred in three Ocean’s movies (11 through 13), and also appeared in one of Clooney’s directorial turns (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). So the idea of casting them in another film is simply a no-brainer. However, that doesn’t mean that the movie itself should lack intelligence. Okay, maybe that was a bit much to say; however, Ticket to Paradise is not another witty and sharp Ocean’s movie, nor is it the clever and utterly riveting Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). It is a basic, by-the-numbers romantic comedy that is so transparent and obvious that it comes dangerously close to being a total waste of time (and money if one should ignore my review and pay to see it).
Clooney and Roberts portray divorced couple David and Georgia Cotton. Though they barely remain amicable, the once married father and mother to their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) would prefer to spend as little time together as possible. But, as parental duties often call, the perpetually bickering duo must occassionally tolerate each other for the sake of their child. Shortly after graduating from law school, Lily and her best friend Wren (Billie Lourd) decide to take a vacation to Bali, where Lily’s life and future are totally changed.
During their sabbatical away from the “real world,” Lily falls in love with Bali native Gede (Maxime Bouttier), a sweet and amiable man who works in the family business of seaweed farming. After Lily and Gede get engaged and make plans for a wedding and future life in Bali, the frantic and frustrated David and Georgia discover the one thing on which they can finally agree. Their daughter Lily is making the biggest mistake of her life.
Written and directed by Ol Parker, who co-wrote the film with Daniel Pipski, Ticket to Paradise does have its share of funny moments scattered upon a bare bones plot and story that everyone should know how it is going to turn out. The movie does actually tease that it might go in another, more realistic way, but just when it actually raises one’s hopes, it skids and veers back into the saccharine lane of transparency. It was enough to made me grown, and perhaps a more obnoxious audience member to scream out, “Oh come on!” At the end of it all, at least the sites look gorgeous and made me dream of a Bali vacation.
There is not a whole lot more to say other than the cinematography is gorgeous and the movie serves as a love letter/tourism promotional film for Bali. Don’t get wrong. I like George Clooney and Julia Roberts in this. They are fine. As is the rest of the cast. Everyone is so gosh darn charming, funny and silly, one could just die! Anyway, before I sound any more cynical and jaded, if that is what one is looking for in a movie, then by all means, go see it.
However, do yourself a favor, and make it a matinee. Don’t spend top dollar to see this. My advice is to wait until this movie is available to watch at home because this may as well have been a direct-to-streaming movie like the Father of the Bride remake that was released earlier this year on HBO Max. In fact, to tell the truth, if I could go back in time and switch these movies out, I would have released the new Father of the Bride theatrically and saved this one for streaming. That comedy actually has more substance, excitement, drama, and better writing than Ticket to Paradise.